BOWEN BOUND: Cruise ship passengers who disembark in Airlie Beach will be offered day tours to Bowen next year.
BOWEN BOUND: Cruise ship passengers who disembark in Airlie Beach will be offered day tours to Bowen next year. Contributed

Day trips to Bowen to be offered to cruise ship passengers

CRUISE ship passengers disembarking at Airlie Beach will be offered a whole new experience, with day tours to Bowen set to be rolled out in 2019.

Transport and shuttle bus provider Airlie Beach Transfers and Tours has become the first business to sign up to the initiative, which will start in March next year.

Passengers will be transported to Bowen where they will stay for about four hours to see the best the town has to offer. The experience will showcase Bowen's beaches, lookouts, seafood, and agricultural sector.

Sales and marketing manager for Bowen Tourism and Business, Jenn Honnery said the initiative would showcase Bowen's beauty to a whole new segment of the tourism market.

"We will be showcasing the beaches and the lookouts, the great seafood, drive-by tours of farms where they will explain the importance of the industry. It will be an overview at first but once the tours start the itinerary will be refined," she said.

The news comes nearly 12 months after initial discussions first took place between members of Bowen Tourism and Business, Tourism Whitsundays, and Intercruises Shoreside and Port services.

Ms Honnery said the project got off the ground following a recent presentation to Airlie Beach tourism operators.

"Airlie Beach transfers and tours had a great conversation and decided to take on the Bowen run," she said.

"Since then we've worked with them on an itinerary and how best to fit in Bowen's highlights, within the short time period that we can have the cruise passengers in Bowen."

Airlie Beach transfers and tours owner Charlie Sturgess said he was excited to be on board.

"We really liked the sound of it, we've done tours with seniors in the past and the feedback is always good. Bowen's got nice beaches, the 360 lookout is particularly brilliant, and the cinema as well as the local seafood will make for great activities," he said.

Ms Honnery said the bookings would operate through inbound tourism operators (ITO) where passengers would book on board the ship before arriving at the destination. She said recent trends within the cruise ship industry indicated more and more passengers would be passing through the Whitsundays.

"Australia is a big cruising market, we love cruise holidays, so it's a fantastic market to get into Bowen because when they see Bowen's beauty it will be easy for them to come back being domestic travellers," Ms Honnery said.

"We want more people to come to Bowen and see how beautiful it is and maybe plan their next holiday with Bowen included."

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