Tourism traffic jam on the Bayfront – Too much intrusion by Tall Ships on Bayfront and in wildlife areas
The Newport City Council got a forceful but encouraging earful from someone who gave a rather comprehensive evaluation of how the Tall Ships from Washington State disrupt Newport’s tourism season “flow.”
Fran Mathews with Discovery Marine Tours told the council that Newport’s Bayfront is too jammed with tourists who can’t find parking, especially in the months of July and August. So when the Tall Ships out of Gray’s Harbor Washington arrive it just makes the crowding worse – not only for tourists but also for people who work full time in the fish processing industry, merchant stores, fresh fish sales and other busy summertime operations along the waterfront.
Mathews contends that it might well be advised to ask the Tall Ships to visit earlier in the season like in April when there’s room for the ships and the large numbers of people that like to experience the tall ships. She added that the Tall Ships current mid-summer visitation schedule also means that their loud and gunpowder smokey discharges near sea animal breeding and feeding grounds are disruptive – something that could be avoided if the Tall Ships visited in an early shoulder season like April. Mathews also pointed out that the Tall Ships take-on a great deal of revenue which is straight-away transferred to their headquarters in Washington State – not Oregon.
Mathews added that the Tall Ships’ big footprint also impacts many Newport tourism businesses by having so many Tall Ships customers in town making waterfront parking even tighter. She even suggested that Newport could get so crowded that fewer visitors will even want to make Newport a regular vacation stop-over on the coast. Mathews urged more of a balance of visitors so that other visitation destinations like the Marine Maritime Museum, the Hatfield Marine Science Center and other high profile visitor centers can continue to grow and thrive.
So we’ll see what the Tall Ships group out of Grays Harbor has to say about all this.