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Bar Harbor City Council discusses cruise ship restrictions

The process, which could take years, will address overcrowding from tourist cruise ships.
Joe Minutolo discussed the impacts of cutting back on cruise ship tourism in Bar Harbor.
Joe Minutolo discussed the impacts of cutting back on cruise ship tourism in Bar Harbor.(WABI)
Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 9:39 PM EDT
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BAR HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - The Bar Harbor City Council hosted a workshop Monday night to discuss possible restrictions on cruise ship tourism. This comes after a majority of Bar Harbor residents surveyed said that the cruise industry does more harm than good in their town.

After Bar Harbor saw more than 250,000 cruise passengers in 2019, council members are hoping to reduce that figure by roughly 30 percent.

Although hosting more tourists can provide an economic boost, the city and its councilmembers agreed that the town is overcrowded when large cruise ships make port. Councilmembers discussed possible solutions, including limiting the number of ships or passengers.

“Sometimes having too many people can hurt our businesses,” said Town Councilor and business owner Joe Minutolo. “As far as the actual dollars, bottom line, there’s going to be money flowing in the town of Bar Harbor. I think it’s one of those things, though, that I think it’ll be a better experience for more people, which is my hope.”

Although the town is projecting a record number of cruise passengers in 2022, the council members said this could be a years-long process. Next steps include dialogue with the cruise ship industry and modeling some of the proposed capacity limits.

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