Cruise ship season commences today with a maiden call from Holland America ship, Maasdam, carrying around 1200 passengers and 580 crew.
The season will see 13 ships visit the city over the seven-month period, ending in April 2020. Including other maiden calls from Boudicca (Fred Olsen Cruise Line) and Artania (Phoenix-Reisen).
Around 16,000 visitors will arrive during the period which will mark as one of the highest cruise seasons on record. This is bolstered by two of the largest passenger-carrying ships to arrive in Townsville, the Artania and Amsterdam – each carrying a total of 2,100 passengers and crew.
Port of Townsville Chief Executive Officer Ranee Crosby said the cruise strategy has witnessed significant gains in the past twelve months.
“The recent announcement of the Australian Cruise Association naming Townsville as the host of the national conference to be held in September 2020 mirrors the cruise industries interest in Townsville.”
“The announcement follows the success of the trial partial turnaround for cruise ships in September 2018 which was indicative of the communities resounding support for the growth of cruise ship attraction in Townsville,” said Ms Crosby.
The global cruise interest was bolstered in 2018, with the Federal and State governments environmental and funding approval of the $193 Channel Upgrade Project.
The widening of the channel will be completed in 2023, allowing ships up to 300 metres to access the port ensuring North Queensland remains a competitive trade and tourism gateway.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said she welcomed the announcement by the Port of Townsville regarding the cruise season with strong numbers.
"Having these passengers from cruise ships arrive in the heart of Townsville is a real boon for our city," Cr Hill said.
"Local retailers, restaurants and tourist attractions feel the positive impact of having hundreds of visitors in Townsville at once."
"We're looking forward to showing off the best of Townsville to leave a lasting impression on these travellers."
Townsville Enterprise Director – Tourism & Events, Lisa Woolfe said welcoming the Massdam signals the start of another exciting cruise season for the region.
“Townsville has a growing cruise reputation, welcoming over 30,000 passengers and crew over the past two years from a wide variety of markets and demographics”, said Ms Woolfe.
“The region has continued to cement itself as an ideal cruising destination with each visit providing our region the opportunity to market itself to visitors from across the globe whilst making a valuable contribution to our local economy.
“Additionally, cruise passengers have a high propensity to travel and by providing a positive experience during the initial visit there is a high likelihood they will return to the region.”