Plans to boost region's multi-million cruise industry
GLADSTONE'S peak tourism body is cruising ahead with plans to boost one of the region's multi-million dollar industries.
Next Friday the Port City will welcome the first of 15 cruise liners scheduled to dock at Auckland Point within the next 18 months.
While the festivities will be well under way at East Shores to welcome the more than 2000 passengers, Gladstone Area Promotion Development Limited is behind the scenes trying to convince more, and larger, ships to town.
GAPDL spruiked the benefits of welcoming domestic and international cruise liners - filled with passengers who spend up to $300 each in Gladstone - during a business luncheon yesterday.
Chief executive Darryl Branthwaite said this year Gladstone will host its largest cruise ship to date, the Carnival Spirit and in December it will welcome Holland America's Noordam for the first time.
The latter is expected to be filled with high-end passengers with deep pockets, according to Tourism Events Queensland's Julie O'Brien.
Speaking to a crowd of about 100 Gladstone business people yesterday, Ms O'Brien said the region was well-placed to reap the rewards of Brisbane's new international cruise ship terminal.
"The first P&O cruise ship came here in 2016 and now other ships are exploring the opportunities," she said.
"It's a slow burn so we have to be patient ... but we do have something different, we have a great destination and reputation."
Ms O'Brien said Brisbane's new terminal, due to be operational within two years, provided an opportunity for north Queensland destinations.
"They have reached commercial terms with Carnival, which has committed to 100 calls a year for the first three years," she said.
"You can't have that many ships going to the South Pacific or New Zealand, some will need to go north."
Mr Branthwaite said work was continuing to offer more experiences to cruise passengers, including day trips to the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
He said while discussions were ongoing to attract the Royal Caribbean to Gladstone, upgrades to the mooring areas at the Gladstone Port would be needed.
"But GPC is leading the way in envisioning what this region will look like in 20 years time, as a port destination that rivals Port Douglas," Mr Branthwaite said.