On 19 November 2023, Bauke Visser, Professor of Economics of Decision-making Processes at Erasmus School of Economics, appeared in an NPO broadcast about cruise ships. Cruise ships have major externalities such as emissions and noise, but they are said to be good for the economy. Yet the city where the ship docks does not benefit from those gains, Visser says.
The professor argues that Rotterdam itself does not earn much at all from cruise ships. This is because the cost of a cruise ship trip is not covered at all by ticket prices; most of that happens on board. Hence, cruise companies do not want visitors to spend money in the city itself at all. From the few visitors who do disembark, Rotterdam earns around fifty to seventy thousand euros.
Visser also calculated the damage caused by cruise ships docking. If we were to monetise those external effects such as environmental damage and noise pollution, the costs come to the same amount of about fifty- to seventy thousand euros. Consequently, at the bottom of the line, Rotterdam is left with virtually nothing.