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By now you’ve probably heard about the $110 million investment that Royal Caribbean will make in Galveston to build a new cruise terminal. This project will stimulate major economic benefits for the port, the city and the community.
The annual impact from this terminal includes:
This new business will also generate millions of dollars in direct revenue for the port and the city of Galveston.
It’s a gamechanger for the port and the city, but Galveston residents and businesses may ask “How does it benefit me?”
A MAJOR REVENUE GENERATOR
First, the new terminal will generate millions of dollars in ground rent and other revenues for the port, which we’ll reinvest in infrastructure and capital improvements as outlined in our Strategic Master Plan. These investments will grow our port business, create more good-paying jobs and stimulate the local economy.
Second, the city will receive new, unrestricted revenue that would give the city the opportunity to lower property taxes, a move that all property owners would support.
The port will pay the city at least $300,000 a year. Based on passenger volume, we expect this amount to increase if annual passenger numbers at the new terminal grow beyond 600,000.
In addition, we estimate that port-operated cruise parking sales tax revenue paid to the city will grow from $600,000 a year to more than $1 million. This doesn’t include sales tax that the city receives from privately operated cruise parking businesses.
Third, local stores, restaurants, hotels, attractions and services businesses will benefit as more cruise passengers and crew members buy goods and services in Galveston. This will generate more jobs, sales and hotel tax revenues and business growth.
WHAT ABOUT TRAFFIC?
We plan to divert cruise passenger traffic to a new east end interior roadway to minimize traffic congestion on Harborside Drive. We’re conducting a $177,000 traffic study now to develop the details.
Royal Caribbean and Galveston Wharves share common values around environmental stewardship and sustainability.
Royal Caribbean will put those values into practice by building a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified terminal. LEED is a globally recognized set of green building standards. To receive LEED certification, the terminal must meet certain environmental sustainability criteria, such as waste reduction and efficient use of energy and water.
AND IF YOU LIKE TO CRUISE …
Royal Caribbean will bring its newest, largest and most innovative ships to the new terminal, beginning with the Allure of the Seas, the largest cruise ship to ever to set sail from Galveston. Cruise passengers will travel from around the U.S. to cruise the Caribbean on these luxurious ships. But it will be just a short drive to the terminal for those of us who live in Galveston County.
Rodger Rees is Port Director and Chief Executive Officer for the Galveston Wharves.