Sponsored by Oregon Business

Cruise ship business flounders in Astoria

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

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.”


More Articles

The Cover Story

Linda Baker
Thursday, August 27, 2015
01-cover-0915-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

How do you put a baby on the cover of a business magazine without it looking too cutesy?


The 10 most successful crowdfunding campaigns in Oregon

The Latest
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
081915-crowdfundingmainBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

One of the hottest new investment trends has proven quite lucrative for some companies.


Aim High

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

We get the education we deserve.


Have a baby and keep a job? It won’t be easy in Portland

The Latest
Friday, October 02, 2015
100115kimblogthumbBY KIM MOORE

Our intrepid (and expecting) research editor finds the child care search involves long waiting lists, costly fees and no certainty of securing a place before she goes back to work.


One Tough Mayor

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

Betty Roppe steers Prineville into the future.


Back to School

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Oregon is home to an abundance of gritty warehouses reborn as trendy office spaces, as well as crafty hipsters turned entrepreneurs. Does the combination yield an equally bounteous office products sector? Not so much. Occupying the limited desk jockey space are Field Notes, a spinoff of Portland’s Draplin Design Company, and Schuttenworks, known for whittling Apple device stands. For a full complement of keyboard trays, docking stations and mouse pads, check out the GroveMade line, guaranteed to boost the cachet of even the lowliest cubicle drone. 


Child care challenge

September 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02