EUREKA- Cruise ships have not been to Humboldt Bay since “The World” visited in 2012. Now, Humboldt County officials, Eureka City officials and Port of Humboldt Commissioners are working to bring them back.
Cruise the West is a group of West Coast port authorities that recruit cruise lines. The Port of Humboldt Bay is the newest member, and Cruise the West’s Vice President, Bruce Conner, says one cruise has already agreed to come to Humboldt Bay in 2017. But now, he’s working with Eureka City Officials, Humboldt County officials and Commissioners with the Port of Humboldt Bay to book more cruise visits in the future.
“To demonstrate the cruise lines can slow their ships down, save fuel, number two is add another port to their re positioning itinerary up and down the West Coast, number three is we're going to demonstrate that we will create onboard revenue for them,” said Conner.
Conner says excursions are the key to creating that revenue.
"A younger generation is coming in and they want a cruise where they can be active, where they can do something," said Don Smullin, the Executive Director of the Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce.
Cruise the West officials say a single one-day visit by a cruise ship could bring in an additional $700,000 into the local economy. But Smullin says it could also provide a lot more.
"A lot of tourists that I’ve known come back because now they want to spend more time here. Maybe they want to come back and retire and come back, but they come back. Tourists bring money into the community," Smullin said.
The owner of Eureka Fabrics, Rima Greer, also believes cruise ships would benefit the local economy.
"I think as long as we can do it in a responsible way, it would be fantastic. Anything that brings more tourists in means more customers for all the businesses in the area," said Greer.
Bruce Conner will finalize possible excursions, transportation for those excursions and make other preparations before he pitches Humboldt County as a destination to multiple cruise lines at a conference in Miami thin two weeks.
If you would like to learn more or volunteer to help the Cruise the West effort, call Bruce Conner at (707) 443-0801.