While the Port of Galveston was making inroads into the homeport segment of the cruise industry, Galveston had sporadic visits from ships making transit calls.
The Port and local tourism officials have developed a working group to explore how Galveston could market its established Texas tourism image as a “port of call” to show off the island’s many sites and attractions to visitors who arrive by ship looking for a taste of Texas.
The Port understands the itinerary planning process and knows that cruise lines plan more than a year in advance for upcoming cruise seasons. Galveston was patient in developing its home port market, and hopes that its current popularity will encourage opportunities for the port of call market.
To kick off this effort the Port is helping the Galveston Park Board by making space available to install large wayfinding signs at the cruise terminals. The signs are large maps and photos of nearby attractions and provides directions to other activities and sites close to the terminal.
Port Director Mike Mierzwa enthusiastically supported the sign installation, adding: “The Port needs to work with local tourism officials to promote Galveston Island as a destination to expand the Port’s mission as an economic engine for the local economy. The Port now has the marine infrastructure to handle almost every size ship and port of call cruises could bring hundreds of visitors to the historic downtown, seasonal festivals, and other attractions that make Galveston a vacation mecca for Texans”.
“Working with the Port is a perfect combination to highlight the Port’s maritime facilities and Galveston Island’s tourist attractions,” stated Kelly de Shaun, Executive Director of Galveston Island’s tourism board. “This collaborative effort will provide the cruise lines with inclusive packet with operational capabilities, available tour options and general information about the Galveston region”.
The Port plans to survey and proactively solicit cruise operators and foreign travel agencies that promote charter and group cruise sailings looking for new destinations for their itineraries. The completion of the Panama Canal expansion, Central American destinations and the tried and true Caribbean island stops make an interesting assortment of ports and can include Galveston in diverse itinerary packages.