According to a state representative from the Houston area, a cruise ship line could be successful here in Corpus Christi.
Rep. Gary Elkins is a member of the Joint Committee on Cruise Industry Development, which met Monday at the Ortiz Center to discuss the idea.
The State heard from a number of area leaders about whether a cruise line would be welcome here, and what impact it would have on the economy. Some of the numbers discussed were from a study done, which showed that one ship would create 350 jobs and put at least $5 million into the local economy.
The average pay is said to be over $40,000 for those cruise ship jobs.
Jacksonville, Fla., has a number of cruise lines and is competing with several other Florida cities for business. Keith Arnold with the Corpus Christi Convention & Visitor's Bureau said that city is bringing in around $67 million a year because of the cruise industry.
Everyone at Monday's state committee meeting were in favor of trying to lure one of the cruise lines to town. State Rep. Elkins, from Houston, said that while his city has a number of cruise lines, there's enough business for South Texas to have its own pleasure ships.
"I believe there's enough business for us to have more than one port in Texas," Elkins said. "I believe that we could easily have three or four, and I know one of the big fights is going to be in this area. Is it going to be Corpus? Brownsville? Is it going to be Port Lavaca or Port Aransas?"
A number of people who testified before the panel pointed out that a cruise ship here would attract people from places like Austin, San Antonio and all the way down into Mexico. Others said we needed to be preparing the area near the American Bank Center to handle a cruise ship docked in the bay.
Of course, the testimony was just part of the work the committee is doing as it prepares to submit a report to the Texas legislature. So it appears that it may be several more years before we see a ship sailing into town. That is, if the cruise lines want to open new locations along our coastline, and so far, no one has heard an answer from those companies.
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