Bauke Visser, Professor of Economics of Decision-making Processes at Erasmus School of Economics, discusses the costs and benefits of cruise ships in Rotterdam in a short lecture at Studio Erasmus. Cruise ships have large externalities like emissions and noise, but they would be good for the economy. Visser investigates whether cruise ships really have more economic benefits than costs.
Bauke Visser started his research into the regional benefits of cruise tourism in Rotterdam after he found out that the often-heard figure of 1 million euros revenue per cruise call was based on a report by Cruise Port Rotterdam, the local cruise terminal operator. Not even city council members are allowed to read the report.
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. Moreover, Cruise Port Rotterdam enjoys more advantages, Visser said: 'Cruise Port Rotterdam pays no rent to the municipality, the owner of the building, for the first 30 calls a year. It also pays no lodging tax. The operating deficit is made up by the municipality and the Port Authority (which is 70 per cent owned by the municipality).'
At the end, the Professor shares a shocking conclusion. Via CBS data, Visser arrives at a net profit per call of about 51,000 euros for Rijnmond; a lot less than that 1 million euros.
Bauke Visser in Studio Erasmus, 18 October 2022
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