Australian Cruise Association annual conference kicks off on the Sunshine Coast
  • Thursday 07 September 2017

The 21st annual Australian Cruise Association conference and celebrations is underway with more than than 100 leading national and international cruise executives and representatives of the cruise sector visiting the Sunshine Coast.

Acting Mayor Cr Tim Dwyer was one of the guest spearkers at the Welcome Party, held at host hotel Mantra Mooloolaba, and highlighted the growing importance of cruising to the region.

"Hosting this conference in 2017 is timely for the Sunshine Coast as we have gone from strength to strength in proving to be a popular destination for cruise itineraries," Cr Dwyer said.

"We have experienced substantial growth in cruise visitation and welcomed more than 24,000 passengers over the past two years.

"We recognise the importance of cruising as one of the fastest growing tourism sector in Australia, which is why Sunshine Coast Council, in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland and Visit Sunshine Coast has identified pulling out all stops to support and grow the cruise sector as part of our tourism strategy.

"We have embraced the opportunity and embedded cruising as integral to our tourism industry.

"We look forward to strengthening our involvement with the industry into the future and hope to be one of the must-visit ports."

Themed “Together Towards Tomorrow”the conference program will explore opportunities to take the fast growing cruise industry into the future including destination and infrastructure development, collaboration with the cruise lines and the changing needs of cruise passengers.

The conference sessions, emceed by television personality Andrew Lofthouse, began with a welcome address from Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford.

“We understand that regional ports are becoming increasingly critical to the growth of the cruise tourism sector in Australia and are delighted to have won this very important event for the Sunshine Coast," Mr Latchfors said.

"Fittingly cruises to our region have grown by 28.6% over the past year and with an average spend of $269 per passenger injected into our tourism industry with each visit, this truly reflects the diverse and appealing natural experiences we can make available to guests."

Jill Abel, CEO of Australia Cruise Association said: “We are thrilled with the calibre of speakers at this year’s conference who will undoubtedly deliver some thought provoking insights. In addition to hearing from our guest speakers, we will also be holding a panel discussion to address plans for the future.”

The conference sessions are supported with a line-up of activities designed to showcase the host venue to attendees.