- Wednesday 16 December 2015
Cruise ships ahoy in 2016!
Sunshine Coast businesses will receive an early Christmas present on Friday when P&O cruise ship Pacific Eden drops anchor off Mooloolaba.
The superliner’s one day stopover will bring around 1500 more guests to our region and deliver a significant pre-Christmas economic boost to local businesses and tourism operators.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Pacific Eden would be the third and final cruise ship to visit the Sunshine Coast this year, but at least 10 stopovers were scheduled for 2016.
“The cruise ship stopovers we’ve enjoyed since July this year have been fantastic for local businesses,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Each visit has delivered around $250,000 to our economy and provided great exposure for the Sunshine Coast as a result of fantastic passenger reviews that were among the best any port in Australia and the South Pacific has received.
“The local community and especially our businesses and tourism operators have played a huge role in helping the Sunshine Coast quickly establish a glowing reputation within the cruise ship industry. They’ve really rolled out the red carpet for cruise ship guests and showed them a great time while they were here.
“Council has also worked very closely with P&O and Visit Sunshine Coast to coordinate these opportunities and we’ll continue to provide active support to ensure we’re an attractive stopover destination on the cruise ship itinerary.
“As a result of this, we have 10 cruise ship stopovers scheduled for 2016, including visits from international five-star cruise liners the Azamara Quest and the MS Amsterdam early next year.”
Mayor Jamieson said the arrival of more cruise ships was another significant boost for the aim of growing the regional economy and keeping business confidence high.
“The most recent surveys show that business confidence levels are at record highs on the Sunshine Coast and we’re seeing the clear evidence of this with major companies like Country Chef and Auto & General choosing to invest in our region by expanding their business operations here,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Our airport has just recorded its third consecutive month as the fast growing major airport in Australia. We’ve had Jetstar add 40,000 extra seats in and out of the Sunshine Coast over summer and QANTAS has recently returned with a daily service to and from Sydney.
“The Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion project also has huge potential benefits for local tourism and international trade by enabling the airport to cater for up to two million more passengers each year.
“So the growth of our cruise ship stopover schedule is opening our region up to even more tourism and business opportunities - the direct expenditure by the cruise shipping industry in Australia in 2014-15 was estimated at $1.953 billion.”
Tourism Sport and Major Events Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said the busy cruise ship schedule would complement a huge year of major events on the Sunshine Coast.
“We’ve won the lotto and then some when you look at what’s coming to our region in 2016,” Cr O’Pray said.
“In April, we’re hosting the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships that will bring more than 22,000 guests to our region and deliver around $20 million right into our local economy.
“We have cruise ship visits scheduled either side of this event in mid-march and early May so the opportunities for our local businesses in this period alone will be enormous.
“In September and October we host the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and the Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games respectively.
“We’ll have around 17,000 guests arriving for these massive events and we’ll also have a visit from the Pacific Pearl on the same day as the World Ironman so the exposure for our region is going to be absolutely enormous.
“We’re the events capital of regional Australia and the events pot of gold will be even bigger in 2016.”
The Pacific Eden will drop anchor off Mooloolaba on Friday morning and passengers will be ferried ashore from around 8am – so be sure to give our cruise ship guests a warm Sunshine Coast welcome!