The 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic – a brand new ship that will receive a celebrity-style U.S. debut from the GRAMMY Award-winning band Maroon 5 Sunday in Galveston – has the potential to drastically increase the number of visitors to the island each year. Based on double occupancy, the ship can carry 24 percent more passengers than its predecessor, the Carnival Conquest.
If you add that to the increased capacity created by the arrival of the 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph in Galveston last month, Carnival Cruise Lines has the potential to bring approximately 100,000 more visitors to the island in 2012, creating a potential $10 million or more in direct economic impact to the island’s tourism industry.
“Quality cruise lines attract tourists, which spend millions of dollars at our hotels, attractions, restaurants and shops,” said Leah Cast, public relations manager for the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are coming off the best summer tourism season on record for Galveston and we believe the exposure and added value we’ll receive from the Carnival Magic being here is only going to help keep that momentum going.”
An economic impact study conducted by Angelou Economics in 2008 showed that, on average, visitors to Galveston spend $103 per person per day. For that reason, the island’s tourism industry for years has been working to capture the attention of cruise passengers by selling the island as a pre- or post-cruise destination.
Those efforts will continue during Carnival Magic’s debut weekend as the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, its tourism partners and Carnival host a plethora of activities for national travel media, travel agents, group tour operators and other stakeholders in an effort to increase exposure of the cruise line and Galveston’s many attractions, Cast said.
“Already, the response has been overwhelmingly positive because the national and international travel industry is realizing what Galveston has to offer,” Cast said. “That can be a major selling point for a cruise line or travel agent because Galveston offers cruise passengers the chance to start their vacations a few days early or continue the vacation after their cruise.”
It’s not just Carnival bringing new cruise ships to island. This Friday, Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas will arrive to the Port of Galveston for seasonal cruises. The ship, built in 2003, will replace the Voyager of the Seas that has sailed from Galveston for several years. The ships have the same passenger capacity.
Travel Weekly Magazine