Thursday, May 26, 2005

In the doldrums

As I was unlocking my bike this morning to go to the Coffee Plantation, a Conch Tour Train pulled up at the stop light on the corner of Thomas and Truman. There were a mother, father and child aboard. And the driver. I can't remember the last time I saw a train or trolley go by that empty.

We're in the doldrums now, the May-June doldrums. Between now and the end of June, business is going to slow down a lot. The town will be relying on the cruise ships for business, since there won't be as much air or road traffic as in other months.

There are 29 cruise ship arrivals scheduled in June, and 30 in July, against the 33 that arrived in May, but that doesn't tell the complete story. Who goes on a Caribbean cruise in the summer time? A clue: the cruise lines whack their prices during that period. The people who take advantage of those prices are budget-conscious travelers, not likely to be big spenders (not that the winter cruisers are themselves big spenders. How much money can any tourist spend in the few hours they stay here?).

Nevertheless, with around a million passengers arriving in a year, and the city collecting $10.63 for each one arriving, it's a substantial amount of revenue that the city can ill-afford to lose.

Especially now that we have to pay Duck Tours Seafari, Inc 13-1/2 million dollars.

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