Cruise industry yields mixed business for local restaurants

Published: Feb. 20, 2012 at 9:06 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 20, 2012 at 11:18 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Carnival Fantasy took off from the Charleston port on Monday and some local restaurants are noticing business isn't booming when the cruise ship is in town.

Days when cruise passengers get on and off the Carnival Fantasy are very busy down at the Port of Charleston. Passengers say they were just excited to get onboard, but some local restaurants are feeling the impact of these turn around days more than others.

Eighty-four cruise ships are scheduled to visit Charleston this year, bringing in thousands of tourists to the holy city.

But out of the 84, only 14 will call on Charleston as a port of call. The remaining 70 are turn around days for the Carnival Fantasy.

"On days like today when it's Carnival, as you can see we're starting slow and they'll trickle in and it won't be the same impact as a port of call," said Richard Coleman, manager of the Noisy Oyster.

Coleman says when the Carnival Fantasy is in town, business for him slows down.

A recent report commissioned by the Historic Charleston Foundation says many tourists spending money in the holy city are not cruise ship passengers at all.

Another study by the College of Charleston shows nearly $37 million annually will come into the Charleston area as a result of the cruise ship industry and that 400 jobs will be created.

Some restaurant managers also say road closures near the cruise terminal have an affect on business, especially with locals coming to visit.

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