HELLO SAILORS: The USS George Washington naval ship sails past Caloundra during its 2013 visit to Queensland.
HELLO SAILORS: The USS George Washington naval ship sails past Caloundra during its 2013 visit to Queensland. Warren Lynam

Hopes for Coast tourism boost as US navy ship lands today

A FLEET of US sailors is expected to head north after docking in Brisbane today, but it's not tipped be the stereotypical randy rascals often associated with naval shore leave.

The USS George Washington and its crew of 6000 will pull into a Brisbane port today, bringing with it a wealth of opportunity for nearby tourism operators.

Sunshine Coast Destination CEO Simon Ambrose said the region was regarded by many Americans as an untapped holiday attraction.

He said his organisation hadn't done anything in particular to target the sailors but did expect many would head to the Sunshine Coast.

"A large proportion will use their time to see something new," Mr Ambrose said.

His previous experience with large influxes of US sailors was they generally wanted to experience a different culture.

"The other thing about American sailors, generally, is they are really courteous, really generous and easy to get along with."

Do you want US sailors visiting the Coast?

This poll ended on 22 June 2015.

Current Results

Yes, everyone’s welcome on the Sunshine Coast

71%

Yes, they would bring money to our region

16%

No, they’ll run amok

9%

I don't mind either way

2%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Australia Zoo director of sales Erina Kilmore said the zoo was proud to partner with operators who provided tourism experiences to groups including navy and cruise ships.

"We have always had a close relationship with the US Navy and we love to welcome their crew to Australia Zoo when in port," she said.

"We will be welcoming hundreds of sailors to Australia Zoo over the USS George Washington's four-day stay in Brisbane and look forward to sharing our beautiful wildlife, interactive experiences and conservation message with them all."

The USS George Washington off Caloundra. Photo Contributed
The USS George Washington off Caloundra. Photo Contributed Contributed

Sunshine Coast Destination head of marketing and business partnerships Simon Latchford said it was imperative for the region's tourism operators to work together to attract large groups.

"More important than the singular visitation is the media and word of mouth they create as they share their experiences on the coast across their social networks building the region's international profile," Mr Latchford said.

Meanwhile, Scarlet Harem brothel manager Rhonda McLaren didn't expect those looking for nightlife and adult entertainment would head to the Sunshine Coast.

"They would probably head for the Gold Coast," Ms McLaren said.

"I think the sailors are amazed that it's legal here."


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