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Cruise ships bringing visitors, economic spinoff to Sault

Twenty visits are expected in the city between June and October
The Pearl Mist is one of three cruise ships expected to visit Sault Ste. Marie multiple times in 2019, bringing 5,000 visitors to the city. (Supplied photo)

Cruise ships visiting Sault Ste. Marie in 2019 are expected to bring 5,000 visitors to the city and inject $750,000 of direct spending into the local economy.

This season, which kicked off in early June, three different ships will be moored at the city’s docks over 20 visits: Pearl Mist, M/V Victory 1, and Le Champlain.

Attracting cruise ships has been a concerted effort over several years by the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp. to boost the profile of the city and encourage more tourism in the area.

“We partner with cruise ship operators to develop land itineraries and welcome packages for passengers,” said the corporation’s executive director, Dan Hollingsworth, in a news release.

“Long before vessels stop here, cruise line officials are brought to our city and provided tours. From that, unique land itineraries are created, such as driving excursions along Lake Superior and visits to downtown attractions like the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, Art Gallery of Algoma and Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site.”

The city is also looking at expanding the visitor welcoming experience by having vendor tables set up at the docks promoting local goods and services to cruise ship passengers as they disembark.

In 2018, cruise ships docked in the Sault 15 times, drawing 3,000 passengers and injecting $450,000 in direct visitor spending into the local economy.

Cruise ships have been docking at Roberta Bondar Park for nearly two decades. After some concerted marketing and attraction efforts from local officials, the visits began to throttle up in 2016.