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Cruise ship boosts economy

The magnificent Pacific Dawn cruise ship in Airlie Beach on Monday.
The magnificent Pacific Dawn cruise ship in Airlie Beach on Monday.

CRUISE ship Pacific Dawn arrived on Monday with 2023 passengers and 690 crew.

As it is school holidays, the ship brought a large number of family groups with children ranging in age to the Whitsundays.

Cruise ship volunteer ambassador co-ordinator Judi Dunn said that with the onslaught of families to the Whitsundays, the lagoon was popular.

A total of 1606 passengers and crew disembarked to enjoy the Whitsundays.

More than 600 booked tours, with 255 travelling to the outer reef, another 246 experiencing various water activities and 122 tested our land based adventures.

Mrs Dunn said two new tours had been added to the Pacific Dawn's offering, one being a scenic flight to Hayman Island and the other a seaplane to Whitehaven Beach.

“This means passengers (and crew) now have 11 different Whitsunday experiences on offer direct from the ship,” she said.

“Those choosing not to book tours came ashore to discover Airlie Beach, and with the number of shopping bags and parcels returning to the ship, it seemed both the markets and the business in the main street benefited from the ships arrival.

“We had 20 volunteer ambassadors' help over the full day, located at both the marina and in town, to offer directions, information and in general, ensure all passengers received a warm Whitsunday welcome.”

Tourism Whitsundays chief executive Peter O'Reilly said cruise ship visitors injected significant funds into the local economy each year.

“P and O estimate that on average, each passenger spends around $80 on their stopovers to Airlie Beach,” he said.

“With at least eight ships carrying over 17,000 passengers scheduled to stop in Airlie Beach between now and the end of the year, that's a direct injection of approximately $1.36 million into the local economy.

“The arrival of cruise ships into Airlie Beach is a big business – with many local tourism groups joining together to host and greet the passengers, all of which adds to their Whitsunday experience.

“These visitors are generally pretty well-heeled travellers, who, given a brief taste of the Whitsundays, are likely to return and stay here in the future, and really enjoy everything the Whitsundays has to offer.”

October will be a busy month for cruise ships in Airlie Beach.

                  Cruise ships in October

  • Pacific Jewel, Sunday October 3
  • Pacific Sun, Tuesday October 5
  • Dawn Princess, Sunday October 17
  • Rhapsody of the Seas, Saturday October 23

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