In 2023, four cruise ships brought over 4,000 passengers to Duluth, including the Ocean Navigator, Octantis, Polaris, and Hanseatic Inspiration. The influx of visitors had a significant economic impact on the city, contributing nearly $600,000 in direct spending to local businesses.
The spending supported a variety of enterprises, including shops, restaurants, transportation providers, tour operators, and small businesses in Duluth and other Great Lakes ports. Nearly 25,000 passengers made 800 visits to Great Lakes ports across the region, representing a more than 20% increase from the previous year.
Anna Tanski, Tourism Director of Cruise the Great Lakes highlighted the organization’s commitment to promoting the unique cruising experiences available in the region. She emphasized that Great Lakes cruises are becoming increasingly popular as a destination due to their growing popularity.
Dan Hartman expressed enthusiasm about the influx of visitors and noted that many of them would not have come to Duluth otherwise but have discovered its appeal through these cruises. He added that this is an excellent opportunity for Duluth’s businesses and community members to benefit from increased tourism and connect with new customers from around the world.