Home Back Issues January 2010 Cruise ship business flounders in Astoria

Cruise ship business flounders in Astoria

| Print |  Email
Articles - January 2010
Thursday, December 17, 2009
cruise
Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas won't be making a stop in Astoria this year.
COLUMBIA RIVER MARITIME MUSEUM PHOTO

The city of Astoria is bracing for a substantial hit to its local economy because it is losing half its cruise ship business.

Between 2007 and 2009, Astoria averaged more than 18 ships a year, but the port lists only nine expected for 2010. Industry averages mean that this picturesque city of nearly 10,000 people can expect to lose $2.1 million in retail sales. The Port of Astoria estimates it will lose up to $180,000 in revenue.

“It’s a blow,” says MacAndrew Burns, executive director of the Clatsop County Historical Society. Burns says he estimates he will lose about 5% of revenue without the ships.

Pete Gimre, owner of Gimre’s Shoes, says his store does up to 50% more business on days the ships are in port, requiring him to add eight to 12 employee hours each day. “[The ships] boost so many businesses downtown, it’s just gravy,” he says. “But when you lose that gravy, things aren’t as good.”

Jill Harding, chief of visitor services at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, says the park doesn’t see as many visitors from the ships as other area attractions, but she agrees the declining numbers of passengers coming to town will definitely affect admissions.

Judy Niland, managing director of the Astor Street Opry Company, says she has already lowered her ticket prices by about $3 to attract locals who might be tightening their belts. “When they’re feeling the pinch, we feel it the most.”

“Nobody wants to hear there will be half as many ships,” says Paula Bue, manager of the Astoria Column visitor center. But like many Astoria residents, she stays positive and looks to the future — particularly the city’s bicentennial this year. “If 20,000 people aren’t coming [from the ships], we’ll just have to go find another 20,000.”

“We need to think ahead and do things to increase traffic without them,” says Blue Anderson, head of visitor services at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. She says her museum will have extra exhibits and special events to mitigate any loss of revenue.

Skip Hauke, of the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce, says the visits declined because of “extreme taxes” from the state of Alaska, a destination for many of the ships. Johanna Bales, deputy director of Alaska’s tax division, says her state levies a 33% tax on gambling revenues on top of a 9.4% corporate tax and $50 in passenger fees.

City leaders count their blessings Astoria didn’t lose all their cruise ship visits. “I like to think we have nine ships coming in next year,” says Hauke. “That’s more than most places. If we treat them right they’ll return when the economy improves.”


WILLIAM E. CRAWFORD
 

More Articles

The 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon 2014

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
14BY KIM MOORE

Proud, diverse and underpaid.

Pride in their organizations’ mission, fairness in the treatment of women and ethnic minorities, flexible work schedules — these are just a handful of workplace characteristics that employees of this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits appreciate about their organizations.


Read more...

A Complex Portrait: Immigration, Jobs and the Economy

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE & KIM MOORE

Oregon Business reports on the visa squeeze, the skills gap and foreign-born residents who are revitalizing rural Oregon.


Read more...

Gone Fishing

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LORI TOBIAS

Business has been good to Laura Anderson, leading some to suggest she must be awfully lucky to find such success in a business notorious for failure. But luck’s had little to do with it.


Read more...

True Blood

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Antibiotics really aren’t magic bullets.


Read more...

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...

Constant Contact

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

To prevent burnout, companies are banning email and after-hours communications. But is the 24-hour workday here to stay?


Read more...

The Backstory

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

In our cover story this month, Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, discuss their rapidly growing businesses and Portland’s red hot food scene. The conversation provides an interesting lens through which to explore trends in the grocery store and restaurant sectors.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS