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Sault tourism expecting fewer cruise ships this year

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Tourism officials in Sault Ste. Marie are preparing for a quieter-than-usual cruise ship season.

Tourism officials in Sault Ste. Marie are preparing for a quieter-than-usual cruise ship season. (Mike McDonald/CTV News)

However, they don’t anticipate this to be a significant challenge to the local tourism industry, even though fewer cruise ships will be pulling into the port.

“This year is a bit of an anomaly just with the sale of some of the cruise ship companies,” said Alana Kenopic, Sault Ste. Marie’s tourism and travel manager.

“We are down, but we do see a very strong impact, and the ones that are here have very meaningful visits.”

Kenopic said cruise ship visits play an important role in the city’s tourism season, offering many benefits to nearby attractions, hotels and shops.

“What happens when the people come off the cruise ships, a lot of them will get on excursions and they’ll head out to the different attractions, the Bushplane Museum, art gallery, the museum, and they definitely see a direct benefit,” she said.

“A lot of them that will just go out and start exploring in our downtown and do some local shopping.”

Rick Borean, community services supervisor, said the location of the port places it close to a number of tourist amenities, and it’s often identified as a highlight of the Great Lakes cruise experience.

“We do hear from the guests, and even from the crew, as well,” said Borean.

“We’re very fortunate that most of our attractions and amenities are well within a five-minute walk away and they really enjoy being able to either rent a bike at the marina or just walk to the location. They leave happy and they come back happy every time, it’s great.”

Kenopic said the vast majority of cruise ship visitors are international travellers and they bring a lot of money with them.

A Great Lakes cruise can run anywhere from around $6,000 to as much as $20,000, depending on the cruise line and length of the trip.

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