The South Carolina State Ports Authority paid for a recent study that highlights the effects the cruise business in Charleston will have on jobs, spending and tax revenue. Spokesman Byron Miller says researchers studied the economic impacts the 16 port-of-calls and 53 embarkations are expected to have.
“Dr. John Crotts and Dr. Frank Hefner who are local professors and researchers and renowned in the areas of tourism and economic studies were hired by the Ports Authority to do an analysis of our cruise business. They went out and they surveyed multiple vessels and about 300 passengers and crew members to determine their spending habits. They also surveyed the various cruise lines who do a lot of spending in the local economy,” says Miller.
Miller says with the findings, the researchers found the cruise business has a broad and diverse economic impact on the economy. He says the cruises bring great news for Charleston in 2010.
“While a lot of communities are only bleeding jobs right now we are adding them here through the cruise business. In 2010 the cruise industry will mean about $37 million in the Charleston-metro region, supporting about 407 full-time jobs. Importantly, the average wage of a cruise-related job is about $40,000. Each ship you see that comes in the average direct spending from that ship is over $323,000,” says Miller.
Many industries are expected to be impacted with bringing the cruises into Charleston. Miller says restaurants and hotels will see positive impacts, but transportation will see the greatest spending.
“With the people who tie up the ships, who handle the luggage, the other services that are related to that ship, such as providing products to support the crew and passengers while they are on their voyage,” says Miller.
The Ports Authority says initial planning concepts will be shared with the public on February 9.
(Miller interview on cruise study, mp3, 2:30)