Re: “Long-touted economic benefits of cruise ships far overstated” (June 11):

It is indeed no secret that some dollars, of the thousands of cruise ship tourists docking in Portland, do wind up in the Kennebunks. But the presumed economic benefits of the dozens of buses rolling through Kennebunk Lower Village and Dock Square each morning, disgorging hundreds of tourists, require careful scrutiny.

My friend the late Val McGann, the Irish artist who operated a gallery here for many years, gave me his assessment some years ago when the flotilla of tour buses began to dramatically increase. He said: “They bring hundreds who only want a little peek and a little pee. They might spend $20 to buy something they can drop into their pocket or purse and then after two hours, jump on the buses back to their ships.”

These day-hoppers never heard of the Irish saying: “It is better to spend money like there’s no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there’s no money!”

The question of the value of cruise ship tourism remains: Benefit to whom?

Robert F. Lyons


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