The March 19 editorial implies that the S.C. State Ports Authority agreement with Carnival Cruise Lines to have the cruise ship Sunshine start five cruises in Charleston in 2016 was made to evade an updated Tourism Management Plan that was yet to be presented.
The editorial raised the possibility that some of the things that might be proposed in a new tourism plan might impact on Carnival’s contracts with SPA.
At least the editorial correctly states that the new service is in accordance with an agreement between SPA and the city to limit the number of cruises to 104 per year with ships carrying no more than 3,500 passengers.
That same agreement between SPA and the city says that if SPA sees the need to expand business beyond the existing agreement there will be written notification one year prior to any material change with a community forum, public hearings, and a report to the mayor and City Council.
That sounds a lot like the process used in updating the city’s Tourism Management Plan. And although it’s rarely pointed out, numerous public meetings and “listening sessions” were held over a long period of time when the SPA first proposed a new cruise terminal, and input from those sessions figured prominently in the agreement between SPA and the city.
It would be refreshing if The Post and Courier spent more time on even handedly reporting factual arguments on both sides of this issue instead of SPA bashing.
Maritime Association of South Carolina