Facing a significant reduction in cruise ship business booked for 2012, http://www.rupertport.com British Columbia, Canada, engaged http://www.globaldd.com in 2011 to assess its viability as a port of call on Alaska itineraries and offer recommendations to attract cruise lines.
Using the results of the Cruise Destination Fitness Test, Global Destinations Development concluded that the town's appeal, history and character, geographical attributes and potential to expand current attractions make Prince Rupert a viable cruise destination. GDD estimated that an investment of CA$15 million to $22 million (US$14.4 million to $21.1 million) over several years would transform Prince Rupert into a first-class port of call.
"Based on Global Destinations' findings we are acquiring property from the city and advancing development planning for the entire upland area, which will include pedestrian corridors, public spaces, commercial property developments and programming areas," said Shaun Stevenson, vice president, marketing and business development for Prince Rupert Port Authority. "We have completed concept development on an aboriginal cultural interpretive center for one of the development sites, and a port interpretive center will be complete in time for the 2012 cruise season."
Created by Michael Greve, the trademarked Cruise Destination Fitness Test provides a realistic assessment of a port's prospects in the industry, including recommendations for improvement. It analyzes major attributes that contribute to a cruise destination's success, including geographic location, docks, condition of the town, marketing attractiveness to cruisers and travel agents, direct costs of calling, on-board revenue potential, operations and guest satisfaction. The Fitness Test The test employs a simple A to F grading system, with pluses and minuses, and a 100-point scoring scheme.
"Potential homeports and ports of call around the world come to Global Destinations for expertise on how to be successful in the cruise industry," said Michael Greve, president. "Prince Rupert in British Columbia and Banana Coast in Honduras both used Global's Fitness Test to assess strengths and weaknesses, and to create capital plans for improvement."
For Prince Rupert Port Authority, the analysis was applied twice – to assess its current situation and to estimate the score after hypothetical improvements were made. On the second test, PRPA's score rose from C- to B+.
Based on the findings of the Fitness Test, PRPA embarked on a program to build community involvement with the City of Prince Rupert. A cruise task force was formed to develop volunteer programs, excursions and new businesses. The success of the community cruise task force initiatives in 2011 culminated in increased guest numbers ashore, guests lingering at waterfront markets to enjoy local artisans, First Nations carvers and student-led walking tours, and a higher concentration of activity near the ship, within reach of every guest who came ashore.
Prince Rupert Port Authority's 2011 Alaska season ended with more than 50,000 cruise passengers arriving on 21 ship calls from May through September.