A group of leading international cruise operators visiting Sydney this week will find a booming industry preparing for another record cruise season, according to Sydney Ports.

The Chief Executive Officer of Sydney Ports Corporation, Grant Gilfillan, said that he was pleased to welcome executives from Europe and North America, whose visit is being hosted by Cruise Down Under, Tourism Australia and Qantas.

“While these eight cruise industry leaders will be visiting other cruise ports across Australia, we are particularly proud to welcome them to Sydney, Gilfillan said.

The group includes: Mario Parodi - Oceania/Presitge Holdings, Christina Andusyshyn - Oceania/Prestige Holdings, Chris Martin - Holland America Line/Seabourn, Stephanie Farrow - Fred Olsen, Teresa Legra – Norwegian Cruise Line, Theresa Phelps - Celebrity Cruises, Darius Mehta – Silversea

Gilfillan said that he looked forward to meeting with the group and outlining ways in which Sydney Ports is addressing the challenges presented by rapid cruise growth in the Sydney.

He said that Sydney Ports’ $87 million cruise infrastructure program include the opening, in March 2013, of the new $57 million Cruise Passenger Terminal at White Bay; and the launch of a new Master Plan for the Overseas Passenger Terminal, with at least $30 million in improvements.

Gilfillan said large ships would become regular visitors to the OPT, following the historic berthing of the Queen Mary 2 at the terminal in March this year, made possible by a Sydney Ports decision to install a new mooring point to the north of the terminal.

In addition, three cruise ships have also been offered berthing at the Garden Island naval facility in the coming season.

“Sydney Ports is working with the industry, the Navy and Government to meet the infrastructure challenges presented by this remarkable growth.”

The cruise industry has consistently reaffirmed Sydney’s reputation as a world-leading cruise destination.

In 1996, just 70 ships visited Sydney. In 2013/14, 322 cruise ship visits are currently included in the schedule.

“We welcome the contribution being made to this State’s economy by the cruise industry and we welcome the opportunity to brief this industry group on Sydney Ports’ support for its continuing growth,” he said.