Bumper cruise season boost for capital’s retailers

cruise shipWellington’s inner city retailers have been benefiting from a bumper cruise season as the city welcomes a record number of ships this summer.

“A combination of good weather, favourable exchange rates and a vibrant retail offering have meant stores and hospitality businesses have noticed a marked increase in sales to passengers,” says First Retail Group’s Chris Wilkinson.

“The welcome boost has come across a range of categories including fashion, pharmacy and books as visitors enjoy the capital’s shoreside range of stores, boutiques and markets.

“Retailers, council and the city’s tourism organisation, WREDA have worked together to ensure businesses throughout the city can benefit from cruise custom. The addition of a midtown shuttle point has helped bring passengers further into the city, enabling visitors to explore the fashion quarters of Victoria, Wakefield and Cuba streets.”

Lorraine Nicholson from First Retail Group, which works with Wellington City Council, says the new stop has been fundamental in showcasing the capital’s wider offer. “We know visitors are keen to seek out the more unique stores and these areas are perfect to ‘seek and discover’ things you don’t find elsewhere.”

One business enjoying the wider reach is iconic fashion retailer Hurricane Clothing. “Passengers and crew are venturing further and we’re definitely seeing more visiting our stores in Manners Mall and Cuba Street,” says owner David Byrne. “The city’s strategic approach to maximising potential from cruise markets has been welcomed across the retail community.”

Retailers are encouraged to welcome cruise ship passengers using signs and enhanced host awareness to improve visitor experience while they are in the city.

Sector strategy group OurCBD has been a key catalyst in helping businesses recognise and leverage opportunities from the tourism sector, according to Nicholson.

“Now, around halfway through the season, businesses are looking at how they can further enhance performance for this and future years. Greater alignment of shopping hours, enhanced digital visibility and having retailers work more closely together are all agenda points for OurCBD at its first meeting in early February,” concludes Nicholson.

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