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Cruise ships sail back to Townsville
Townsville will welcome its first major cruise vessel in more than two years when the Viking Orion visits the Port of Townsville on 2 December 2022. The vessel will bring 930 passengers and almost 500 crew to town, giving the local tourism industry a welcome boost in time for Christmas. Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk Government had worked closely with the cruise industry to get ships back on the water after Covid. “With more ports and anchorages, great weather and unbeatable, world-class onshore visitor experiences, Queensland is Australia’s cruise ship capital,” Mr Hinchliffe said. “Onshore visitor experiences have always been important, but now more cruise ships are also taking on food and provisions in Queensland ports-of-call, which is terrific for local suppliers.” Port of Townsville Chief Executive Officer Ranee Crosby said the Viking Orion would kick off a strong recovery for Townsville’s cruise industry. “Townsville will welcome 12 cruise ships to the mainland and Magnetic Island this cruise season,” Ms Crosby said. “This is a tremendous bounce-back from a two-year hiatus, and already we are on track to see a record number of vessels visit the Port of Townsville in the 2023/24 cruise season. “After Townsville hosted the Australian Cruise Association conference in September, the cruise industry is extremely excited about the experiences Townsville has to offer, as well as the Port’s capacity to accommodate larger vessels up to 300m when our Channel Upgrade project is complete in 2024. “We expect to see a return of year-on-year growth as the Port works with Council, Townsville Enterprise and the industry to strengthen Townsville’s foothold in the cruise market.” Member for Mundingburra Les Walker said cruise ships contributed $1 billion to Queensland’s visitor economy. “Cruise ships are good news for North Queensland tourism operators with hundreds of passengers eager to explore our region’s amazing visitor experiences,” Mr Walker said. “Before the Covid-19 global pandemic, visiting cruise liners contributed $8.6 million to Townsville’s visitor economy and we’ll see that grow with the Port of Townsville’s Channel Upgrade project. “Once the upgrade is completed in 2024, we expect to see bigger and more frequent cruise ships bringing extra passengers to enjoy Townsville’s great lifestyle.” Michelle Black MD at Viking Australia & New Zealand commented: “Today is a proud day as we return to Townsville for the first time since 2019. We are incredibly excited for our first season back in Australia since the summer of 2020 and look forward to showcasing to our guests onboard the very best of what Townsville has to offer.” Townsville Enterprise Director of Visitor Economy and Marketing, Lisa Woolfe said it is exciting to welcome cruise back to Townsville North Queensland. “The arrival of Viking Orion signals another milestone for tourism industry recovery post Covid,” Mrs Woolfe said. “Cruise has been an important and growing sector for our local tourism industry. Cruise passengers and crew spend on average $500 a day in the region, and they disperse this spend across tourism experiences, retail, transport services, dining venues and more. We also know they have a high propensity to be return visitors to the destination.” Viking Orion will begin its journey in Indonesia and travel Australia’s east coast to Sydney carrying passengers predominately from the USA and United Kingdom.