Queensland Looking to Build Cruise Business

 The Sea Princess calls in Brisbane

The future of the cruise industry in Queensland, Australia, will come down to three key and current infrastructure projects.

In Brisbane, a new terminal is on target for 2020 in partnership with Carnival Corporation; Ports North has plans for a massive overhaul of Cairns to accommodate larger vessels; and in Townsville, a big-budget plan will widen and deepen the port’s access channel over the next five years to attract larger ships.

Julie O’Brien, cruise development leader tourism and events Queensland, said that the state offers 14 different ports and moorings for cruise ships. The most recently available statistics showed 29 percent growth season, with 468 vessel calls over the 2016-2017 season amounting to 815,706 guests.

Among new ports in the region is Bundaberg, which received its first cruise call in June 2018 when the Silver Discoverer visited.

The future may be pinned to a major homeport in Brisbane.

"The facility is expected to be operational in early 2020 and will benefit local businesses, both tourism and other supply, with increased homeporting ensuring a substantial economic step change,” said O’Brien.

“Growth potential, especially for homeporting, is expected in the main ports of Brisbane and Cairns.  Townsville will host its first partial-turnaround later this year, hopefully giving the cruise lines confidence that the region can provide these services in the future,” she continued.

“Townsville also provides fuel and maintenance services, which makes it a particularly attractive call in the north.  There is however, enormous transit call potential in Gladstone, Fraser Island, Port Douglas, Mooloolaba and the Whitsundays and a great deal of interest in the unique experiences of the Torres Strait.”

With an expansive coastline, it’s not uncommon for cruise ships to call on several ports in the state on the same itinerary.

“We specifically ensure diversity along the coast, optimizing each region’s strengths and unique offerings to create an itinerary that is appealing,” O’Brien said. “The recent visit from the Silver Discoverer took in seven Queensland destinations, and passengers could experience diversity each day, from world heritage listed Fraser Island, to the Great Barrier Reef, to the Outback (accessed from Townsville).  Our point of difference is our variety – that’s our sales pitch.”

As the state attracts more calls, O’Brien is mindful of the passenger experience ashore.

“We are putting a lot of effort into ensuring the volunteers meet the ships and that the communities understand the valuable economic contribution of this market sector,” she added.

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