Cruise boss squashes port’s plan to impose a levy on passengers

/, Cruise News/Cruise boss squashes port’s plan to impose a levy on passengers

The cruise industry brings millions of pounds of revenue to the port of Southampton every year. Passengers stay in local hotels, hire local taxis, and shop in the city’s stores. Ships pay a fortune to tie up at the cruise terminals and countless local businesses and suppliers benefit from dealing with the ships.
According to one estimate, each ship call is worth £1.5 million, and this year there will be a total of 360 visits to the port. As the Americans say: “You do the math.”
So you’d think the city council would be grateful, and do everything in its power to encourage more ships, more passengers, and more income.
Not a bit of it. Instead, they decided they were going to impose a levy to pay for multi-million pound road improvements needed to reduce traffic gridlock which is at its worst on the days up to 30,000 passengers are arriving or leaving.
A report leaked to the local Daily Echo suggested the council could charge each passenger up to £10 to fund work to cut congestion at Dock Gate 4 – near an IKEA superstore.
Fortunately, thanks to a campaign led by Carnival UK boss David Dingle, responsible for P&O, Cunard and Princess Cruises, the idea has been quietly shelved.
Local MP MP Alan Whitehead said the council was in danger of killing the goose that laid the golden egg. “The cruise industry is one of the big success stories of Southampton Docks, it brings money into the city and has a radiation effect on other businesses.
“I know the council wants to raise money for itself but this is not the way to do it. Anything that could make cruise companies feel there are too many obstacles in coming to Southampton or sends out the message they are not welcome is a bad thing.”
And Mr Dingle said: “The cruise industry brings massive economic benefit to Southampton and that benefit continues to grow. Traffic congestion in Southampton is caused by various factors – only one of which is cruises. All stakeholders should contribute to traffic infrastructure improvements, including businesses benefiting from the cruise economy.”
In a statement which must have had Portsmouth getting excited, he added: “We always have the option to relocate to other ports not imposing a levy.”
Now major users of Southampton port, cruise companies and associated businesses will be called to give evidence to a council panel in the coming months and the city council is planning to lobby for Government aid.

By | 2011-02-14T14:13:50+00:00 14 February 2011|Cruise Destinations, Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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