15 Oct 2022

Tauranga prepares to welcome first cruise liner in two years

9:13 am on 15 October 2022
The Majestic Princess cruise liner moored in Juneau, Alaska.

Tauranga business and tourism operators are keen to welcome an influx of international visitors, including those from The Majestic Princess. Photo: Wikipedia / via Jackhayes1

The first cruise ship to visit New Zealand shores for the summer cruise season will dock at the Port of Tauranga today.

It will be the first cruise ship to dock at the port since borders closed in 2020.

Tourism Bay of Plenty general manager Oscar Nathan said it would be a significant milestone when The Majestic Princess arrives, with up to 3560 passengers.

After two absent seasons, Tauranga business and tourism operators were eagerly anticipating the influx of international visitors to the region, he said.

The last full summer cruise season contributed $89 million to the local economy - the second-highest level of regional cruise spend behind Auckland.

"We're expecting [the economic value] to be around that or better, this year - it's really built up quickly as the government announced maritime borders opening again - it's been building up at a rate of knots, excuse the pun," Nathan said.

"The meaning of Tauranga ... is 'safe harbour or anchorage', so it's quite poignant that the first visit of the season starting is actually coming to us. So we're looking forward to it and the injection it's going to make to our operators and the economy."

There are 103 cruise ships set to dock at the Port of Tauranga this season.

The cruise industry injected $547 million into the New Zealand economy during the 2019/2020 cruise season.

Nexus Research showed 76 percent of residents were happy to welcome cruise ships back because of the significant economic benefit, vibrancy, and cultural diversity the passengers and crew brought.

Mount Maunganui Business Association Destination marketing manager Claudia West said retailers were recruiting in expectation of a busy season.

"Like everyone, finding staff has been a challenge, so retailers are bringing on summer staff now, which will support the cruise ship season."

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