Cruise visitors set to hit record numbers
AN INFLUX of cruise visitors is expected in March with 14 ships and more than 20,000 visitors set to hit the region.
These numbers are consistent with growth in the cruise market over the past two years as more than 80,000 tourists have visited the region via cruise ships so far in this financial year.
CEO of Tourism Whitsundays Tash Wheeler said the cruise market had a big impact on tourism in the area and hoped it would continue to grow.
“We’ve been closely working with the Whitsunday Regional Council on the cruise ship program for some time now; the cruise ships provide vital numbers to our region, especially during these quieter months.
“Cruise ship visitation is the greatest advertising tool we have; when cruise ship guests dock in the Whitsundays, they get a taste of the incredible scenery and products we have.
“Anecdotal research shows a high number of those visitors return for a more extended period to time.”
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said he was proud that his Council had worked collaboratively the team at Tourism Whitsundays to ensure the continued growth and development of the Cruise Ship Program.
“It’s so exciting that all the hard work is really starting to pay dividends for the Whitsunday tourism sector as they have had more than their share of setbacks in recent years,” he said.
“Tourism is a major job creator in the Whitsunday region and currently directly employs over 3000 people, so the positive March cruise ship numbers are an excellent boost for our operators and stakeholders.
“Cruise ship statistics show that the average cruise ship passenger spends over $150 during an onshore excursion so with 1000 passengers per boat, and currently over 70 cruise ships visiting our shores annually, that is over $10 million being injected directly into our local economy.”
Mrs Wheeler thanked the efforts of the volunteer cruise ship ambassadors who welcomed guests to the region and said they played a large part in securing return cruises in the region.
“I also want to pay credit to our amazing volunteer cruise ship ambassadors for their service to our community and helping our region capitalise on the cruise boom,” she said.
“Cruise ship passengers consistently rate Airlie Beach, heart of the Whitsundays, as one of their favourite ports and that is largely due to the outstanding efforts of our volunteer ambassadors.”