Cruise ships set to dock in Airlie once more
IF THERE was ever a sign that tourism was well and truly back up and running in the Whitsundays, it's the return of cruise ships to the region.
On Thursday, April 13, P&O Cruises' Pacific Dawn will become the first cruise ship to call at Airlie Beach following Cyclone Debbie with the Airlie Beach community set to welcome 2000 cruise visitors.
Pacific Dawn is set to arrive at Airlie Beach at 7am and depart at 5.30pm on Thursday, April 13, with her guests spending the day exploring the region and boosting the post-Cyclone Debbie economy.
During roundtrip cruises from Brisbane, Pacific Dawn will also make calls to Airlie Beach on April 17 and 27, carrying an estimated 6000 guests to the region in April alone.
Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors Coordinator Brian Richardson said it will mark almost a month since the last cruise ship docked in Airlie Beach with three cruise ships having to cancel their stops in that time.
"It's so rare to have a gap this long. I've been involved with the Ambassadors for three years and it's the first time in three years we've had this sort of situation,” he said.
"It makes a big difference when you don't get 5000-6000 people through town even buying a cup of coffee and sandwiches in town.
"I think it's great they're coming back. I think it should be a boost for the whole economy for those in a position to be open.”
Mr Richardson said with at least two different ships coming for Easter, including Radiance of the Seas on Friday, April 14, they were potential plans for a third different ship to arrive on April 17.
"It's a big boost for morale and its great to see them back,” he said.
"We just got to make people welcome and do what we can to help them enjoy the day.”