In 2023, Duluth’s port saw a significant increase in visitors due to the Great Lakes cruises that docked there. According to DECC officials, the cruise passenger spending generated nearly $600,000 in direct economic impact in Duluth. This spending supported various businesses such as shops, restaurants, transportation providers, tour operators, and other small businesses in the city and other stops around the Great Lakes.
Over 4,000 passengers visited Duluth aboard four cruise ships, including the Ocean Navigator, Octantis, Polaris, and Hanseatic Inspiration. Regionally, nearly 25,000 passengers made 800 visits to Great Lakes ports in 2023. This represents an increase of more than 20% from the previous year.
Dan Hartman, Executive Director of the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC), expressed his excitement about the number of visitors coming into the community. He emphasized that most of these guests would not be visiting the community otherwise and now know of this great place called Duluth.
Anna Tanski, Tourism Director of Cruise the Great Lakes (CTGL), emphasized the organization’s commitment to promoting the remarkable cruising experiences available in the region. She highlighted the year-on-year growth in passengers, port visits, onshore spending, and the increasing premium on Great Lakes cruises. CTGL serves as a forum to bring various entities together to work toward shared goals.
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