Market on wishlist to hook in passengers

ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 13:00 07/11/2012

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Nelson retailers and artists are considering how to cash in on two high-end cruise ships coming to Port Nelson, with Nelson Tasman Tourism keen to see a collaborative approach to any events targeting passengers.

The port will play host to two ships carrying between 400 and 600 passengers each, run by German cruise company Hapag Lloyd, early next year.

Nelson Tasman Tourism international marketing manager Loren Heaphy said the Europa would visit Port Nelson on February 12 and the Bremen would visit on March 8.

They were the first to visit the region in about four years, and the Bremen would return on Christmas Day next year, stopping at Port Tarakohe in Golden Bay.

"Cruise ships work very far in advance, so we're working at the moment on trying to get cruise ships for 2015 onwards. Any that we get for the next three years will be a bonus."

Mrs Heaphy, who has been working with Port Nelson to plan for the ships' arrival, said she was hearing from a lot of retailers and individuals wanting to set up markets targeting passengers.

"I'm really keen to get something like that happening. It would be fantastic, but I'm hesitant to say that the cruise ships' arrival is going to mean everyone gets lots of business. A lot of the people on the cruise ships already have their activities pre-booked," she said.

Cruise ship passengers usually "hit the ground" about 10am, and return to their ships by about 6pm. Research showed they were likely to buy art, jewellery and clothing, but not food or drink as they got that on board.

Arts Council Nelson manager Lloyd Harwood has been canvassing artists to see what experiences they have had with initiatives targeting cruise ship passengers in the past.

Arts Council Nelson would be happy to help facilitate something like an arts market if it would benefit artists. However, he had heard "mixed" responses from people about past initiatives.

"We're always looking at what opportunities we can offer our artists. I would be really happy if someone else picked it up and ran with it. I just want to make sure that something happens."

Mrs Heaphy said Nelson Tasman Tourism, which was in contact with the cruise liner company, had been having discussions around setting up an artisans market at the port.

"What we'd like is to do it though something like Uniquely Nelson and some of those larger representative groups, so everyone gets a slice of the pie . . . I think we need to be collaborative about it.

"We have to be wary of the costs outweighing the potential outcome, and we probably don't want to dilute it by having too many things going on," she said.

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Mrs Heaphy said Arts Council Nelson or the Regional Art Development Initiative (RADi), behind this year's inaugural Art Expo Nelson, would be suitable groups to work with.

"We would welcome people to contact us with their ideas. We want to look really professional and offer them [the passengers] smooth sailing when they arrive in the region," she said.

- The Nelson Mail

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