The first-ever cruise ship call in 2014 for Busselton (Geographe Bay) went well. So well, in fact, that seven ships are scheduled for 2015-2016.

“We’ve found that longer cruises  tend to attract more international visitors, who tend to partake in more excursions,” said Pip Close, CEO, Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association. “Our primary role is to manage the welcome – we will continue to provide volunteers, whom we train in customer service and as tour guides. The idea is to ensure cruise ship visitors are given an interactive welcome experience, with a story behind it, rather than just basic logistical information.”

The Federal Government and the City of Busselton have also pooled funds to create a purpose-built landing directly on the Busselton Jetty.

This jetty fits into the future plans of the port as a quick and safe way to conduct tender operations. One aspect falling in the port’s favor is the fact it’s a north-facing bay, less exposed to poor weather conditions than other anchorage locations.

The most popular shore excursion last season was the Highlights of Busselton. The Geographe Bay Tourism Association (now the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association) has assisted in developing a walking tour itinerary by providing a map of the central business district.

“For the future, we are looking closely into the different types of cruises and the demographics they attract in order to customize our hosting and welcome programs,” said Close.