It's a Friday at the end of September, and one of the large cruise ships, AIDA Perla, with a capacity of 4350 passengers, is docked in Jekteviken.
On this journey along the West Coast of Norway, there are 3530 passengers on board. It's ten in the morning, and passengers are streaming out of the ship toward the city center.
A small camera captures the movements of the passengers. The data is recorded, and the port receives information about how many passengers are going to and from the ship, as well as the times they depart.
-With this counting, we aim to gather more facts about the movements of the cruise tourists, says marketing manager Nils Møllerup at the Port of Bergen.
There has been a lot of speculation about cruise visits in Bergen, ranging from the belief that there are hordes of cruise tourists in the city at the same time, to the notion that they don't spend money in the city.
How many passengers actually disembark from the ship and head into the city? What impact does the weather have on the number of passengers leaving the ships and entering the city? Is it the case that everyone returns to have lunch on board the ship? These are questions that both we and the community are curious about. The count can provide us with answers to some of these questions.
-This year the count has been a trial period with some uncertainty in the numbers. next season we expect to have accurate figures, says Møllerup.
The cruise tourists are walking
And what does the count reveal so far?
-First and foremost, it shows that many passengers make their way into the city. On a sunny day, nearly 80 percent of the passengers leave the ship, and even in bad weather, around 65 percent choose to disembark. We observe that approximately 50 percent of the passengers are in the city center between 10 AM and 2 PM, regardless of the weather. Since this is midday, we can assume that these passengers grab a bite to eat somewhere during this time, says Nils Møllerup.
Our counts also reveal that on the busiest day this year, there were approximately 6,000 passengers in the city at the same time.This is significantly below the city council's approved limit for the maximum number of cruise passengers in the city on a single day.
The statistics also align with Aida Perla's visit to Bergen on this day in late September. Around 80 percent of all passengers left the ship in the morning and early afternoon, heading towards the city center. At one point, there were 2,740 passengers in the city and surrounding areas. Most passengers stayed in the city between 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM, and the vast majority returned to the ship well before it departed from the dock in the afternoon.
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