Today marks the start of Auckland’s cruise ship season with the arrival of Carnival Cruise’s Sea Princess. But what could have been a glowing opportunity for local tourism has fizzled as Auckland’s own tourism information branch has been pushed out of Shed 10, touted as a multi-use cruise ship and events facility.
On the 5th of August, Auckland’s Mayor Len Brown launched the refurbished Shed 10, directly adjacent to Queens Wharf’s cruise ship berth. The first floor of Shed 10, with its extensive views of the Waitemata Harbour and Auckland city, operates as a passenger lounge, while the ground floor processes passenger luggage, security and border control. The makeover cost $12.5 million.
Back in August, ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) Chief Executive Brett O’Riley enthused, “We look forward to welcoming cruise passengers to our wonderful city from October. The new terminal will feature an I-Site Visitor Information Centre, where passengers can get information and advice which will help ensure they get the most out of their stay."
Yet today, ATEED’s I-Site information centre has been relegated to the rear of the bus parking area about 20 metres from Shed 10, and operating out of a mobile kiosk, poorly signposted and barely visible to passengers.
Says local wine tour operator Phil Parker, “Unfortunately ATEED has crumbled to pressure from the cruise companies who want a monopoly on shore based tour activities. Off-the record, I have been told that cruise companies are refusing to have any competing businesses operating out of Shed 10. Considering the amount of cash that Auckland City has invested in the facility, it’s a wasted opportunity for Auckland’s economy and a smack in the face for tourism businesses.”
Phil Parker runs Auckland Fine Wine & Food Tours