11/07/2014 - 10:12

Cruise ship revival

11/07/2014 - 10:12

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Western Australia’s cruise industry is set to surge as it seeks to capitalise on the state’s proximity to Asian holiday destinations, according to cruise ship operator Princess Cruises.

Cruise ship revival
VIEW: Stuart Allison on board the mid-size ship Sea Princess, which carries 2,000 passengers and 800 crew. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Western Australia’s cruise industry is set to surge as it seeks to capitalise on the state’s proximity to Asian holiday destinations, according to cruise ship operator Princess Cruises.

Those expectations are also based on the fact that more Australians are going on cruises, particularly during the past decade, which has been a period of 20 per cent growth, year-on-year.

Princess Cruises Australia and New Zealand vice-president Stuart Allison said the line planned to expand its presence in WA, adding summer cruises for the first time.

“We’re expecting big things from Western Australia because the location of Fremantle is the only way you can cruise up to Asia,” Mr Allison told Business News.

“We really see Asia as one of the next big cruise destination markets in Australia.”

Princess Cruises estimates its expanded schedule will contribute $30 million to the WA economy over the next year.

This is based on port charges, providoring fees, stocking up on WA-sourced fresh food and wine, and money spent by passengers and crew when they arrive in ports.

“The majority of that is spent here in Fremantle, but with 33 calls we estimate that every one of those calls could inject up to half a million dollars in the local economy there as passengers are getting off and spending money in the towns, and crew as well,” Mr Allison said.

Cruise ships also make stops at Albany, Busselton, Geraldton, Broome and Port Hedland.

Royal Caribbean and its sister brand, Celebrity, have also began stopping in Port Hedland since late 2011, visiting four to five times each year since.

Port Hedland Visitor Centre manager Natasha Fry said the Pilbara town was not an average port of call for cruise ship passengers.

“Cruise ship passengers are greeted by tug boats and iron ore carriers, ship loaders and iron ore reclaimers as they are heralded into one of the busiest export ports in the Southern Hemisphere,” she said.

Ms Fry said besides spending money with small businesses in town, many passengers chose to take a guided tour of BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s Nelson Point facility.

“Over the last year, we have seen the passenger uptake of this tour double as industrial tourism gains traction with both an Australian and international market,” she said.

“Despite the inevitable heat, visitors are overwhelmingly positive about their visit to Port Hedland.”

Even more cruise ship passengers are expected to visit Port Hedland next year when Cruise & Maritime Voyages is expected to make port for the first time with its Astor cruise ship.

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