WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Labor Day weekend means the end of tourism season is almost here for many businesses in the Cape Fear region, but many are headed into the off season fortunate with how this summer turned out.
Boat cruises along the Cape Fear River have been a popular tourist attraction for many years, and businesses this year saw a big increase in customers compared to last year.
“We’ve had a great summer from a standpoint of those concerns–the pandemic,” said Chris Haynes, owner and operator for Brew Boat NC. COVID-19 restrictions put in place last year, like a decrease in capacity hurt his business, bringing revenue down 37%.
“Once we got rolling, we were in gear, but there was still a lot of fear of the pandemic,” Haynes said.
But it wasn’t just his business, many others were in the same boat.
“Last year we had the limited capacity and all that, and this year they lifted that at the beginning of the season so we’ve been able to do a little more, carry a little more people not turn away people like we had to do last year,” said Captain Daren Marshburn of Cape Fear Riverboats. “We’ve done really well this season, actually,” he said.
Since the capacity restriction was lifted at the beginning of this tourism season, it’s been smooth sailing for both Cape Fear Riverboats and Brew Boat NC.
“We started off with a bang and it just never quit, we’ve been blessed,” said Haynes.
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