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Brisbane is Capturing a Larger Slice of the Cruise Market
How many cruise ships would you imagine sail into Queensland during a 12 month period?
To be honest, the headline on this article may have encouraged you to consider a larger number than you otherwise might have envisaged.
The figures available for 2015/16 from the Australian Cruise Association put the number for that period at a stunning 329. Of those, the Port of Brisbane itself offered a typically warm Queensland welcome to 148 vessels. That is a substantial 22% increase on the previous period.
The good news certainly doesn't end there. This total put Queensland ahead of every other state, in terms of the number of cruise ships sailing into the state. Of course, the ships carry people ready to spend, and just over 3/4 of a million of them (776,000 to be precise) were on board these vessels.
This is a whopping increase of 100,000 on the previous period. These stellar numbers lead to a contribution of $265 million into the Queensland economy.
More Cruise Ships
One amazing point may almost have rushed by in these terrific results, so it bears repeating.
More cruise ships sailed into Queensland than any other state
Sydney Harbour may be known as an iconic destination, but that level of popularity brings problems. Brisbane is becoming a destination of choice because harbour congestion levels down south are leading to restrictions on the number of cruise arrivals that can be accommodated. A different situation exists here, as we will shortly see.
The good news for the Queensland economy is that we can expect an even bigger slice of the cruise ship pie, which in total amounts to $4.5 billion each year. The fact that business was being taken from Sydney was revealed by the Chief Executive of Carnival Australia, Ann Sherry, speaking at the OUT Business Leaders Forum last November.
Ms Sherry also highlighted the further expansion possibilities through the development of our own $100 million dedicated Brisbane Cruise Terminal at Luggage Point, perfectly sited at the head of the Brisbane River itself
This facility, which the Port of Brisbane is organising the funding for, and liaising with a range of government departments, will be able to welcome the ever larger vessels favoured by key players such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
An example of which is the much talked about and thoroughly stunning £1.3 billion cost mega-liner called Ovation Of The Seas. It is over three football fields in size and 18 decks high. It can carry 5,000 passengers plus 1,500 crew members! Not surprisingly, it's the largest cruise ship ever based in our country.
Port of Brisbane Terminal
During her speech, Ms Sherry also mentioned that the construction of the Port of Brisbane Terminal was due to be completed by the end of the decade
. Presently, she noted that her company was restricted to smaller vessels, as larger ones simply cannot navigate the Brisbane River. She added: "The dedicated terminal will mean Brisbane can take the bigger international ships."
Currently, smaller ships dock at Portside Wharf at Hamilton, and larger vessels have to use the Grain Terminal alongside cargo ships. However, weather conditions, particularly winds, can disrupt the effective use of Hamilton.
The upshot is that, as the years pass, increasing numbers of cruising visitors will be welcomed to Queensland, and to superb facilities that are able to cope with the demands placed upon them. To quote a naval term, it's surely full speed ahead!
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