Northern Territory, Chief Minister Paul Henderson today officially opened the new Cruise Passenger Terminal at Fort Hill Wharf in Darwin (the set for Luhrmann's new movie "Australia"), saying it was a tremendous new asset for Darwin and the Territory's tourism industry.

Speaking at the new Terminal which was today accommodating passengers from the Diamond Princess, Mr Henderson said Tourism Northern Territory estimates the cruise industry was worth AUD$27 million per year.

Tourism Minister Kon Vatskalis said the Northern Territory Government had committed $5 million to the construction of the terminal which is designed for further expansion.

More than 17,000 cruise visitors enter Darwin Harbour each year with the majority of the trips out of Northern Hemisphere arriving between December and April to escape winter and enjoy the Outback summer. Many tour beyond the city to enjoy the Northern Territory's natural and indigenous assets including Kakadu National Park and Uluru.

The Terminal will be operated by Darwin Port Corporation.

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