It is usually the case that when you have an increase in revenues and people attending your tourist attraction, you make money. Not so for Titanic Belfast in 2015 reports Belfast Telegraph. The Telegraph reports this is despite the fact that revenues went up by 7% during that year and that it attracted 625,000 visitors. So what caused the drop in revenue? The newspaper reports:
The drop in profit arose chiefly from the firm’s administrative expenses increasing from £6.27m to £7.42m. And the average number of staff employed last year increased from 134 to 153 with staff costs increasing from £2.17m to £2.45m.
So hiring nineteen people cut into expenses pretty seriously. That tells a lot about the cost of labor these days in NI. And probably why visiting the attraction will soon cost more.
It is interesting what has happened since my original post on the subject. The reprinted stale news The Independent ran spread through the media. Newspapers, the major news networks, and a lot of blogs ran the story as if it were big news. It proves a theory about mass media today: they pretty much feed off each other and few bother to check the facts. It was amusing to read some of the write-ups. You could see that the editors/writers tried to find something different for their take on the story. At the end it was the same stale news from 2015.
This blog got a lot of hits thanks to jalopnik.com whose more skeptical approach to the story puts the more experienced mass media to shame. MoneyTalksNews has a similar skepticism about the Titanic II project. Krystal Steinmetz zeroes in on the key points and notes that the pictures zapping around the Internet are not the real ship but renderings from several years ago. She also adds (in addition to no construction going on at present) the following:
Plans for the ship could also be capsized by an investigation of Palmer. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission is investigating Palmer and the collapse of his company, Queensland Nickel. Palmer could face criminal charges over alleged use of aliases in company dealings and moving money from his failed business into his self-titled political party. The company owes creditors roughly $100 million.
As it stands now the only viable Titanic replica being built is the one being built by the Chinese themselves-for a theme park far away from the coast. This full replica will be permanently docked there (on water), have rooms for people to stay in, and is the infamous one since it will include a sinking simulator as well. So if you desiring to see a full Titanic replica, that is the only one that is actually being built.
The news report by Claire McNeilly indicated the new revised launch date was 2018 and that its maiden voyage had changed. Originally that was to be from Southampton to New York but now would be from China to Dubai. Blue Star Line said it was working with Dubai investors not to invest in the ship but in opportunities that will arise from Titanic II. Since that news report there has no news about the project. As far as anyone can tell, no contract to build has been signed and nor has any shipyard begun construction.
So imagine my surprise when going through the various Titanic related news stories to find this one from The Independent:
Except for the name of the writer, Matt Payton, the article is virtually identical to Belfast Telegraph one in September 2015, which is linked to in the story. One might think though this was a new story when in fact this is stale news. At least it filled up an empty space in the newspaper. And Blue Star is no doubt happy with the free publicity. People in the cruise ship trade though are doubtful it will ever be built. And it is matched by the quietness of the shipping yard in China where it is supposed to be built.
The people running the Titanic Quarter are in the red but the Belfast hotels did quite well thanks to Titanic. According to Belfast Telegraph, the recently released PriceWaterhouseCoopers report noted the highest jump in occupancy rates since 2006.
Occupancy for April – the month of the centenary of Titanic’s sinking – was up 25% in the city’s top 38 hotels, and overall revenue and revenue per available room was 45% ahead of the year before. Stephen Curragh, PwC partner and hospitality expert, said: “While last year’s MTV Music Awards accounted for around 8,000 room nights, with the event delivering delivering an estimated £22m to the Belfast economy, it was March and the launch of the Titanic Belfast Festival that really saw a substantial jump in Belfast hotel occupancy and revenues.
The Belfast Telegraph recently had a nice editorial calling on people to remember what it is all about:
“Of course in all the excitement of the Titanic centenary and the rush to capitalise on it, everyone needs to remember that it was first and foremost a terrible human tragedy with 1,517 passengers and crew members dying. That death toll on a single night was the equivalent to half the number of people killed during the 30 years of the Troubles, a quite stunning perspective on the scale of the disaster. Nothing that is done or produced during the coming centenary year should defile the memory of those who died.”