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Cruise injects $3.6m into Townsville as season draws to a close
Townsville will say bon voyage to the annual cruise season with Viking Mars, the final cruise ship of the summer, calling at the Port of Townsville today (27 March 2023). Almost 12,000 cruise passengers and crew have visited Townsville since December 2022, directly injecting more than $3.6 million into the local economy as they explored lost worlds and experienced eclectic twists right across the region. More than 7,000 passengers took day trips across Townsville, Magnetic Island, Hinchinbrook and Charters Towers during their days ashore. Port of Townsville Chief Executive Officer Ranee Crosby said the season had been a strong bounce-back for Townsville’s tourism industry, following a two-year cruise hiatus during the Covid-19 pandemic. “It was fantastic to see cruise lines and their passengers return to Townsville and discover the hidden treasures and magical beauty of our region with such enthusiasm,,” Ms Crosby said. “Townsville is continuing to build its reputation as a must-cruise destination and the response from all visitors was overwhelmingly positive. The Port of Townsville is eager to continue working with the tourism industry to inspire more cruisers to discover everything our region has to offer. “Next season will see a record 18 cruise ships visit Townsville, before we see larger ships coming into Port from Summer 2024, when our current Channel Upgrade project is complete.” Townsville Enterprise Director of Visitor Economy and Marketing, Lisa Woolfe said as we welcome the last cruise ship of the season, we know this is only the beginning for cruise in the region. “We look forward to welcoming more cruise ships back to Townsville North Queensland next season and to continuing to grow this sector,” Mrs Woolfe said. “Cruise is an important sector for our local tourism industry. Cruise passengers and crew spend $500 a day on average in the region, they support our shoulder and low season, have a high propensity as returning visitors, and importantly they disperse spend across tourism experiences, retail, transport services, dining venues and more.” FAST FACTS – 2022-23 CRUISE SEASON 12 cruise ships visited Townsville between 3 December and 27 March – 11 vessels called at the Port and one anchored off Magnetic Island. A total 7,281 passengers and 4,392 crew visited Townsville during the 2022/23 cruise season. Cruise passengers spend an average $500 per person per day during Port calls, directly injecting $3.6 million into the local economy this season. Passengers visiting Townsville came predominantly from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand. Three cruise ships made their maiden calls to Townsville during the 2022/23 season – Viking Orion, Amera and Europa 2. Cruising contributes more than $5.2 billion to the Australian economy each year. More than 18,000 Australian jobs are dependent on the cruise industry. FAST FACTS – CHANNEL UPGRADE PROJECT The shipping channel is being widened from 92 metres to 180 metres at the Port end, tapering to 120 metres at the seaward end. Currently, the Port can accommodate vessels up to 238 metres long. Upon completion in 2024, larger vessels up to 300 metres long will be able to safely access the Port. This includes cruise ships capable of carrying more than 2,000 passengers.