The Sunshine Coast cruise ship season is shaping up to be stronger than ever with Asia’s newest luxury liner – Explorer Dream – confirming six visits later this year worth an estimated $1.5 million to the local economy. Operating out of Singapore and Hong Kong, we are seeing unprecedented interest from the cruise sector and the international tourism market.
To date, the cruise ships have been largely filled with domestic visitors but this latest announcement marries with international data released earlier this week stating Asian visitors coming to the Sunshine Coast increased by 29.5 per cent to a total of 34,000 over the past year.
We know that the cruise industry is one of tourism’s fastest-growing sectors and already worth more than $1 billion a year to the Queensland economy.
Many thought we could not welcome cruise ships as we don’t have a cruise terminal. This has not stopped us with ships mooring just off Mooloolaba, with passengers ferried to the Wharf by smaller tender vessels for day-trip activities. And while a small number of ships have been unable to come ashore due to bad weather; the past season has still been successful adding more than a million dollars to the local economy.
The Explorer Dream will provide a steady stream of new tourists to the Sunshine Coast with more than 10,000 travellers, predominantly from the Chinese market, expected to come ashore from it alone in October, November and December.
As a bonus, research indicates passengers who have a pleasurable experience during a stopover are likely to talk about the experience and return to the Sunshine Coast for a longer, dedicated visit in the future, providing longer term benefits.
The Explorer Dream is scheduled to visit 31 October, 7 November, 14 November, 21 November, 29 November and 5 December 2019. In addition, the Pacific Explorer will visit 3 August and 10 August and the Pacific Aria on 18 November.