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New Orleans losing millions as COVID-19 continues to pause cruises

The port estimates that 90% of cruise passengers travel from out of state, and 73% of those guests spend a day or two in New Orleans before or after sailing.

NEW ORLEANS — Officials at the Port of New Orleans said the port is expected to lose about $20 million since cruises have stopped sailing for more than a year due to the pandemic.

They say that the regional economic impact from no cruises is larger.

The port estimates that 90% of cruise passengers travel from out of state, and 73% of those guests spend a day or two in New Orleans before or after sailing. Those passengers and ship crew spend $129 million in the regional economy, with the cruise lines spending another $125 million.

Between March 2020 through March 2021, the port expects to lose about $14 million in revenue and expects to lose an additional $4 million through the remainder of the fiscal year ending June 30.

"It wasn't a decline. It was an immediate stop to cruising through the whole world, really. It wasn't just New Orleans," Matt Gresham with the Port of New Orleans said.

Jim Szeszycki, the president of Concord Services, said other industries were able to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus including face masks, social distancing, and patrons taking personal responsibility. That's not happening with the cruise industry.

Workers are hoping to get back to work soon. 

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