Area businesses got a little economic boost today. German passengers on the Aida Aura cruise ship made their way to the Port of Wilmington. They spent the day shopping and dining in downtown Wilmington, and taking in the historic sights. Aida Aura’s captain, Sebastian Schaubensteiner, said, "We did not know much about Wilmington besides the fact that it's the third largest film industry in the nation, and that it's in North Carolina." The Aida Aura brought nearly 1,300 passengers and more than 400 crew members to Wilmington. They were encouraged to explore our historic town. A group of cyclists joined forces with the Cape Fear Cycling Group to tour the city on wheels. "We are going out and have a big look at the city. Go around to the old historic district, and then over to Wrightsville beach," said David Loll, a passenger of the German cruise ship. Gabriela Koeneg, also a passenger, said, "We want to play golf, and then we want to look after Wilmington." According to a survey by Cruise Lines International, each ship passenger spends an average of $123 at each port of call visit. Each crew member spends about $50 per visit. For area businesses, the increased foot traffic meant a small, but needed economic boost. Seth Parham, a barista at Bella’s, said, "They all ordered lattes, and high dollar stuff, so it's been a really big boost this morning actually." In one day, the New Hanover County Tourism Authority estimates the total economic impact of the cruise ship in town was more than $450,000.
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