Here come 15 more cruise ships.

The 2019/20 cruise ship season runs from the start of October to May, with a record 87 liners scheduled to call into Napier Port.

Since 2017/18, the numbers have risen steadily from 57 to what will be 72 at the end of May 2019.

We've said before in these columns, that cruise ships are cream on top of the local economy.

Advertisement

That economy is based around our primary sector or, as it was perfectly described to the audience at the Napier Port Hawke's Bay Primary Sector Awards, the "engine room".

Thursday night's awards highlighted the best of the primary sector, including for the first time, recognition of the horticulture sector.

Award nights are tough work. Behind the scenes, hours of hard yakka goes into making the night a success. They are great opportunities to highlight the success of hard-working people, sponsors and judges.

If more podium time could be given to the winners, the evening has the opportunity to become one of the premier celebratory evenings in Hawke's Bay, befitting of the recognition the "engine room" deserves.

It was noted on the Thursday night that if a region's primary sector is humming, it allows other businesses or sectors to benefit. Retail, or real estate, for instance.

So who benefits from the cruise ships?

Fifteen ships equates to more than 40,000 people. Are we making the most of these day trippers - or should that be day shippers?

On the occasions I have been in Napier when a cruise ship is in port, the local souvenir shop has been doing a great trade. But not much else it seemed.

Advertisement

Away from the retail area, the tours that offer visitors a chance to take in the history of Napier, indeed of Hawke's Bay, are also doing well out of the visitors.

Are we maximising the opportunity? Other towns run markets on the day a ship is in town, although, if a cruise ship passenger is presented with a craft market in one port, do they want to buy from a market in another a few days later?

This suggests some national collaboration around what each port destination offers would be valuable, to enhance the experience.

Apparently a cruise ship passenger is fed well, but there must still be opportunities around the food and wine industry?

Could a passenger buy a David Trubridge light shade and have it couriered home for instance? Or a bottle of local wine?

Are there cultural opportunities? It is a great position for Hawke's Bay to be in.

Sure, there are some grumbles around town being too busy, and it's hard to find a car-park. But all in all, these are great problems to have.