P&O Cruise Ship off Mooloolaba.
P&O Cruise Ship off Mooloolaba. Warren Lynam

Cruise ship bonanza: Million-dollar month to smash all records

A MILLION dollars is expected to flow into Sunshine Coast coffers this August and Mooloolaba looks to get the lion's share.

Four cruise ships, bringing their cashed up tourists eager to spend money will be sailing into Mooloolaba for the last month of winter.

Each cruise ship is estimated to inject $250,000 into the local economy.

And with three of the four ships containing more than 1900 passengers and the fourth 1600, this number could be conservative.

August will bring the most number of cruise ships the Sunshine Coast has ever seen in one month.

But this could just be the beginning.

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said region had won the right to hold the Australia Cruise Association Conference in September, bringing cruise liner delegates from around the world to our shores.

"The key decision makers from all the big shipping companies will be here," Mr Latchford said.

"It gives us a wonderful opportunity to showcase the region and convince the delegates why our natural amphitheatre harbour has its downsides and its upsides."

Bad weather forced the cancellation of four planned cruise arrivals to Mooloolaba earlier this year.

Mr Latchford said while the harbour's natural amphitheatre made it difficult to dock in bad weather, it had numerous advantages.

"We have a natural amphitheatre, not a long jetty out to sea like other places.

"Yeah, we lose some some of the time, which is unfortunate. But tourists docking Brisbane have to pul up alongside a coal loading depot.

"An American tourist waking up and peering outside of beautiful five star room doesn't want to be looking at coal loading depot

"In Mooloolaba, they will get to see beautiful destination unencumbered by man-made obstacles

"They also don't see a skyline obliterated by multi story buildings."

The secret to ongoing success was ensuring more cruise ships were booked to visit.

"What we and council are very aware of is the need to grow the number of cruise ship visitations to the region," Mr Latchford said.

"This will off-set those we lose due to the weather

"If we get over 20 cruise ships (booked) and only get 15, we're seven off better than we are now.

"And seven times $250,000, that's a lot of value that goes through to the community."

Mr Latchford said while Mooloolaba would get the "lion's share" of passenger spending, the money would be shared around as the passengers were booked to spend 24-48 hours in the region.

"The value goes through the community although Mooloolaba will get the lion's share," he said.

"The stops are on August 1, 2, 21 and 28, it will be pretty full on.

"But the benefits it directly injects into our cafes, operators and retails is a no-brainer.

"It's more than that too, it creates destination awareness.

"What our statistics globally show us is a long as a community makes them feel welcome, people will come back on their holidays.

"And they won't come back on a ship, they will fly in and spend a whole week here."

Mr Latchford said while big sporting events like triathlons were also fabulous assets for the region, cruise passengers had the extra advantage in that they were looking to spend.

"They're not training for a sports event, they're eating steak, French fries and drinking Corona or getting on a bus to go to Australia Zoo."