All hands on deck for tourism operators
Taranaki will again get to showcase its attractions to cruise ship tourists when the MS Caledonian Sky berths at Port Taranaki next week.
The Caledonian Sky will spend the day in port on February 13 and a range of short half-day tours around the region has been organised for its 94 passengers and 70 crew.
The ship is on a 14-day cruise from Milford Sound to Napier. It is expected to arrive at 7.30am, having sailed from the Marlborough Sounds, and is scheduled to leave at 6pm, bound for the Bay of Islands.
Venture Taranaki's general manager, visitor industry Paul Stancliffe said the cruise industry was one of the fastest-growing sectors of New Zealand's tourism industry.
"Though this visit won't be on the scale of some of the larger ships that are in New Zealand waters over the summer months, it is an important opportunity for us to show a typically Taranaki hospitality and manaakitanga and help spread the word that Taranaki is a welcoming and wonderful destination for cruise ships," Mr Stancliffe said.
Blair Withers, of Withers Coachlines, said there were no reasons New Plymouth could not host more cruise ships in the future.
"It's nice to see we are getting a few more opportunities to bring them to Taranaki," Mr Withers, who has operated cruise ship tours in Auckland for almost 10 years, said.
"That's the most important thing to us, is to bring extra tourism to the region.
"We are trying to get as many as possible. It's exciting, we love it," he said.
Mr Withers said three tours would be on offer to passengers including a trip to Mt Taranaki, a city sights highlights tour which would take in Pukekura Park and the Te Rewa Rewa bridge and a Surf Highway 45 tour.
"It is huge for us."
The Caledonian Sky is considerably smaller than the MS Volendam which visited in December 2011.
The ship is rated five-star luxury, was fully refurbished in 2012, and is 297 feet (90m) long and has a beam of 50 feet (15.24m). It weighs 4280 tonnes.
Taranaki Daily News