ES to miss $3.2m in marine fees

A cruise ship visits Milford Sound in 2016. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery

SOUTHLAND’S regional council will miss out on more than $3 million this cruise season and more cancellations are expected.

Ports up and down the country had experienced a quieter summer, as border restrictions halted international tourism.

Environment Southland harbourmaster Lyndon Cleaver said there were 23 bookings for the 2020-21 season.

“If those 23 bookings remain, the council would expect to collect $147,000 in marine fees, compared to approximately $3.2 million from 131 bookings that were in place at the start of the season.”

More cancellations were expected, as some of the remaining cruise industry bookings would be in a holding pattern until the government decided whether or not to reopen the sea borders to cruises.

“The bookings are very tentative at this stage.”

Heritage Expeditions was given dispensation by the Government late last year to begin operating domestic cruises.

So far there had been five scheduled cruises, with eight yet to take place.

One cruise was scheduled but was cancelled.

Up to the middle of March, the only passenger ship listed to arrive at Bluff’s South Port was Heritage Expeditions’ Spirit of Enderby (Professor Khromov).

The ship’s destinations were the Subantarctic Islands and the Antarctic.

Ponant was also given approval to operate domestic cruises, starting from February 20.

It had four bookings scheduled at this stage. The cruises would dock and depart from areas including Bluff, Milford Sound and Lyttelton.

Mr Cleaver said the Environment Southland marine fee had been in place since 2001 and aimed to generate revenue to fund coastal management for Southland, including harbourmaster functions, hazard management, science programmes and marine biosecurity programmes.Nike SneakersAir Jordan