WA on cruise liner radar

Broome Advertiser - - Cruise Conference - Kent Acott

WA could be on the cusp of a ma­jor cruise-ship boom, just two years af­ter the lo­cal in­dus­try was on its knees with the de­ci­sion by an in­ter­na­tional liner to quit the State.

But Car­ni­val Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Sture Myrmell this week con­firmed that his com­pany would be re­turn­ing to WA, with its su­per­liner Sea Princess bas­ing it­self in Fre­man­tle at the end of next year.

And Mr Myrmell now be­lieves that WA is well-placed to cap­i­talise on the enor­mous growth in cruise-ship hol­i­days around the world, and among Aus­tralians.

Car­ni­val’s de­ci­sion to drop WA from its itin­er­ary sched­ules saw the num­ber of cruise ships vis­it­ing Fre­man­tle drop to 34 last year, com­pared to 43 in 201617.

But Mr Myrmell , who was a key­note speaker at last week’s Aus­tralian Cruise As­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence in Broome, said things had changed and Car­ni­val’s P&O and Princess lines would be re­turn­ing to WA.

In­fra­struc­ture had im­proved — par­tic­u­larly in re­gional ar­eas — and many des­ti­na­tions had made a con­certed ef­fort to im­prove the tourism of­fer­ings for pas­sen­gers.

“We ob­vi­ously have to make com­mer­cial de­ci­sions and we do that by lis­ten­ing to what our pas­sen­gers want,” he said. “If they don’t like a place or there is bad feed­back, we have to look se­ri­ously at the vi­a­bil­ity of that des­ti­na­tion.

“We now have key des­ti­na­tions in WA, like Broome, that peo­ple want to visit and it is en­cour­ag­ing that steps are be­ing taken to en­sure vis­its are as com­fort­able as pos­si­ble.”

Royal Caribbean Cruise (Aus­tralia and New Zea­land) man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Su­san Bon­ner said WA was a par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant re­gion for her com­pany, with much po­ten­tial for growth.

“Ev­ery­thing we do is to max­imise the ex­pe­ri­ence for our guests,” she said. “And if there is good prod­uct in WA, con­sumer de­mand will drive our itin­er­ar­ies in the fu­ture.”

ACA chief ex­ec­u­tive Jill Abel agreed that growth was pos­si­ble and that in­fra­struc­ture is­sues, par­tic­u­larly in re­gional ar­eas, “ap­pear to be be­ing sorted”.

In­fra­struc­ture is­sues have been par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant in Broome, but the State Gov­ern­ment is con­fi­dent they can be over­come, with dredg­ing of the port chan­nel (due to be­gin be­fore the end of the year) and the pur­chase of an all-tide gang­way sys­tem by next year.

Tourism Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia, who opened the con­fer­ence, said the Broome work had con­trib­uted to Car­ni­val’s de­ci­sion to re­turn to WA.

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