Cruises Still Bringing Boost to Local Economy
by Stephanie Smith
KLEW TV, January 29, 2010
CLARKSTON - Cruise boats are a big part of the tourism economy of the Valley.
And on Thursday the Port of Clarkston hosted a meeting to talk about cruise boats and their impact. Marcia Sommer, the Port Operations Manager for Lindblad Expeditions, which is Clarkston's longest visiting cruise line, said it was a great opportunity to network with Valley companies that serve their passengers.
"Our guests are very well educated and it's a part of the country that many have been to by road but they haven't necessarily cruised on, so they love coming up on the Columbia and Snake Rivers," said Sommer. "Clarkston is great. This is the furthest east that we go. The community is very welcoming and there is a lot here for our crew and the guests."
Southeast Washington Economic Development Association Director and former winery owner, Duane Wollmuth spoke about making products and services cruise boat friendly. Businesses in attendance included Beamer's Hells Canyon Tours and a new company that will offer hot air balloon rides.
"We are going to emphasize on the local market, but also we are going to be catering to the cruise lines," said Adventurist Air Owner James Knight. "So we will basically be offering untethered flights that will go almost a mile in the air and will have a view of the valley as well as the Palouse."
Knight said they will have two hot air balloons and anticipate starting tours at the end of April.
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