OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Old Orchard Beach officials want to make the community a destination for cruise ship passengers headed to Portland.

Town Planner Jeffrey Hinderliter and Chamber of Commerce Director Bud Harmon met with state officials and cruise industry representatives last week to discuss the possibility of getting cruise ships into town. It was decided that for now, the best way to tap into the industry was to bus cruise ship passengers from Portland to Old Orchard Beach as an optional side trip.

Hinderliter tells the Journal Tribune of Biddeford he hopes to have an arrangement in place next year.

He said they will be working on a package to give to cruise-industry representatives that would include an itinerary of scheduled activities such as a lobster bake or a history tour.

“I have confidence that we can make a real attractive package so the cruise industry will want to make us a destination,” said Hinderliter.

Harmon says before moving forward, they have to make sure that local businesses are on board.

State Rep. George Hogan says it’s a good idea and would help the local economy.

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