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Victoria tourism industry hopeful inflation doesn’t curb cruise spending

Victoria’s tourism economy is banking on thousands of cruise ship visitors – like the 1,800 who arrived on the season’s first ship Tuesday – spending a pretty penny while they're in the B.C. capital this season.

A survey done in 2022 by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority showed that on average cruise ship passengers spend $77 a day when they’re in Victoria.

Destination Greater Victoria’s Paul Nursey acknowledges inflation will change spending habits, but predicts the shift this season will see guests spend more on experiences, such as whale watching or a rickshaw tour instead of trinkets.

“The mix of the spending is changing a little bit,” said Nursey on Tuesday.

“Everything is costing more – from hotel stay to restaurant meals – so customers may be taking back fewer souvenirs, for example, but they're still really prioritizing memories.”

Isaiah Archer is one of the owners of Whistle Buoy Brewing Company, a microbrewery in downtown’s Bastion Square. He expects sampling local beer counts as an experience as far as cruise ship passengers go.

“We’re actually the first brewery, proximally, to these boats, so that is a great little coincidence for our business.”

Soren Russow, a pedicab operator, needs his tours to be considered experiences worth shelling out for.

“Cruise ship business is probably 80 to 90 per cent of our business,” said Russow.

Tuesday’s 1,800 passengers are just the start of the 850,000 expected this year who local business owners hope are looking to buy vacation memories. Top Stories

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