Cruise ship study: Economic impact on city relatively minor

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Historic Charleston Foundation says that the cruise industry is having a minor economic impact on the city, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The report stated that it considered the costs of the cruise industry in Charleston and provided findings related to trends in the cruise industry, its economic impacts as well as opportunity cost and "quality-of-life issues."

"Because some of the impacts accrue to surrounding cities and towns, the direct economic impact on the City of Charleston's historic district is minor," said Harry Miley, president of Miley & Associates, Inc. "While the State Ports Authority is a major employer in the state of South Carolina, the recommendation to limit the volume and size of the cruise industry would not affect any jobs related to the existing cruise business in Charleston today."

The report also reported some benefits and risks of the cruise industry which include:

  • A visitor staying in Charleston spends a longer time and more money than the typical cruise ship visitor. If the cruise business becomes too large it could displace other visitors to Charleston.
  • The industry typically attempts to maximize the spending by passengers onboard the ship and minimize the spending by the passengers when they are off the ship.
  • The hotels that are most impacted are not in the City of Charleston.
  • The potential for spending gin the City by Carnival passengers is relatively limited due to the timing of embarking and disembarking passengers.

The study also listed recommendations which included that the city should negotiate with the State Ports Authority and cruise industry to impose "a reasonable passenger fee" to help offset costs that the city may incur serving the cruise industry.

The foundation reviewed plans for the new $35 million passenger terminal to see how it may affect quality of life.

Other groups have called the cruises a public nuisance and illegal hotel operations. Other reports show the industry means a $37 million boost to the economy.

Copyright WCSC 2012. All rights reserved.