Aboriginal welcome in Fremantle

Tourism Western Australia has taken a keen interest in the cruise industry and is looking forward to a number of developments. New ships to the region are expected this season, driven in part by strong passenger feedback.

“To capitalize on the growth of cruise shipping in Western Australia (WA), Tourism WA together with the WA Cruise Committee is implementing a cruise shipping strategy,” said Stephanie Buckland, CEO, Tourism WA. “The strategy focuses on marketing the state as a world-class cruise destination, enhancing individual cruise destinations, supporting the development of necessary infrastructure and services, as well as building industry capacity.”

Part of the strategy comes in education, as the agency is now hosting a number of cruise education seminars across the state.

"The ‘Cruise Ready’ workshops provide insights into how tourism businesses can successfully tap into the cruise market, and the ‘Welcoming Cruise Passengers to the West’ workshops deliver training designed to support tour guides and volunteers,” added Buckland.

Sourcing for ships sailing from Fremantle is a nice mix, said Buckland, with local residents combined with more passengers taking advantage of “rail and sail” packages, coming in via train from as far away as Sydney or Adelaide.

Among the new callers to the region this winter will be the SuperStar Virgo, and the region has identified China as a major growing source market. Buckland is targeting 100,000 Chinese tourists annually by 2020.

Her personal highlights?

She pointed to the new ANZAC Center in Albany. There is $1.3 billion in spending going on to completely transform Fremantle as well.

“This will greatly enhance the cruise passenger experience to the popular port destination,” continued Buckland. “It includes a mix of residential, commercial and hospitality developments, comprising a number of projects either under construction, approved or in the planning stages.

“In addition, the Margaret River Region has been the successful recipient of Federal Government funding to construct a new landing platform on the Busselton Jetty to even further improve the experience.”