The series of islands that lie off Canada’s Atlantic coast are rich in history and appeal to a wide customer demographic. This region’s potential is not being missed out on by the cruise industry.
In Nova Scotia, the Port of Sydney on Cape Breton Island is a gateway to a picturesque landscape with a long list of must-see sights and a variety of activities for cruise passengers.
To ensure that the cruise business grows here, the port has recently announced plans for a second cruise berth, as Marlene Usher, CEO of Port of Sydney, explains.
“We’ve had some very positive growth with respect to traffic at our docks,” she says. “We could see we needed more capacity for berthage, and therefore sent an application into our municipal, federal and provincial governments where we made the case for a second berth.”
This large project required an investment of around CDN$20 million (US$15.9 million) – something beyond the financial means of the port itself. However, a feasibility study led to the three aforementioned levels of government committing their respective support and funding to the project.
“This couldn’t come at a better time,” Usher says. “Our crew traffic is up 68%, and we believe the increased numbers will continue. But without this increased berthage, it would be difficult to grow the port successfully.”
The construction and geotechnical work on the second berth is underway. Usher says the new berth will be double sided, enabling the hosting of larger cruise ships. The second berth is scheduled to be near completion by the fall of 2018.
Port of Sydney’s geographical position means it could play a key role in the development of one of the cruise industry’s emerging markets – the Arctic.
“One Ocean Expeditions has expressed an interest in homeporting here in Sydney, and their primary locations for cruises are in the Arctic,” Usher says. “If this comes to fruition it would be a first for us.”
As with any port, the local sites of interest are key to ensuring each visitor has an experience they won’t forget in a hurry.
“We have the replica of the Fortress of Louisbourg, which provides a great historical experience for visitors,” Usher says. “We have the Miners’ Museum, which celebrates Cape Breton Island’s long history of mining. Then there’s the world-renowned Cabot Trail, which takes in all the scenic beauty the region offers. That’s just the tip of the iceberg here. There are so many great excursions visitors can enjoy, and we take a lot of time ensuring the quality of these excursions is maintained.”
With so much on the horizon, it’s clear that the Port of Sydney is brimming with potential.
“It’s a time of tremendous excitement here,” Usher says. “This year alone, crews traffic will generate CDN$30 million (US$23.9 million) for our local economy. That’s hugely significant to our municipality. It’s vital that we not only grow, but continue to sustain the type of services and economic generators that are here.”