La­bor vows bet­ter cruise ship fa­cil­i­ties

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr and Dy­lan Ca­porn

The Nin­ga­loo Coast is en­joy­ing a bumper year for cruise ship vis­its but stormy seas in the WA cruise ship in­dus­try are threat­en­ing to de­rail growth of the sec­tor along the west coast.

Nine cruise ships have or will be call­ing into the Ex­mouth Gulf this year, more than dou­ble the four-ship av­er­age of the pre­vi­ous three years.

Ex­mouth Vis­i­tor Cen­tre man­ager Kristy Bryan-Smith said un­like pre­vi­ous years where as few as 50 per cent of ships had been able to dis­em­bark be­cause of ad­verse weather, all six ships had dis­em­barked to date this year.

She said while the re­cent an­nounce­ment that Car­ni­val Cruises would no longer use Fre­man­tle as a home port be­cause of the con­di­tions of WA ports, it had at least high­lighted the need for change.

A lack of ad­e­quate dis­em­bark­ing fa­cil­i­ties in Ex­mouth was sighted as one of many short­com­ings at WA des­ti­na­tions.

Tourism Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia said the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment had ig­nored pleas from Car­ni­val Aus­tralia to im­prove re­gional ports.

“Al­ready we have suf­fered a loss and I have unashamedly laid that at the feet of the for­mer gov­ern­ment,” he said.

“They were no­ti­fied and fully aware of it and they clearly did not take enough ac­tion.”

Mr Pa­palia said it was too late to re­verse the de­ci­sion for the 2017-18 sea­son but work had started on fix­ing Car­ni­val’s concerns to en­tice them back for 2018-19.

Car­ni­val Aus­tralia cor­po­rate af­fairs vice-pres­i­dent Sandy Olsen said while P&O Cruises would not base a ship in Fre­man­tle next year, WA would still ben­e­fit from al­most 20 calls from other Car­ni­val Aus­tralia cruises.

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