Cruise trade to suf­fer if WA’s ports not up­graded

Pilbara News - - News - Zoe Keenan

De­spite ef­forts to up­grade port fa­cil­i­ties for vis­it­ing cruise ships, a tourism ex­pert says the string of ports along WA’s coast­line could suf­fer a $130 mil­lion loss if the State Gov­ern­ment does not im­prove berthing fa­cil­i­ties at Ex­mouth port.

Cruise WA chair­man Ross Dowl­ing said the cruise ship in­dus­try iden­ti­fied the WA coast as a sin­gle des­ti­na­tion and so Ger­ald­ton’s ef­forts would not have an im­pact if the prob­lems at Ex­mouth and Broome were not fixed.

“Ger­ald­ton won’t have an im­pact with new up­grades to shore ten­sion units, to make berthing in the port eas­ier for cruise ships, if ports like Ex­mouth and Broome don’t fix their prob­lems,” he said.

“We’ve gone straight to the State Gov­ern­ment and said these are huge is­sues that needed to be ad­dressed and Ex­mouth is the game changer,” he said.

“If the State Gov­ern­ment doesn’t com­mit to putting in a float­ing berth in Ex­mouth be­fore Oc­to­ber, which is when Car­ni­val Aus­tralia has to do its plan­ning, then that will mean Car­ni­val won’t base its ships here and we have es­ti­mated an im­me­di­ate drop of $130 mil­lion a year.

“If the cruise ships can’t get Ex­mouth, they’re not go­ing to home­port in Fre­man­tle, which means that Al­bany, Esper­ance, Bun­bury, Bus­sel­ton, Ger­ald­ton, Port Hed­land, Ex­mouth and Broome won’t ben­e­fit.”

Tourism WA said it was work­ing to find po­ten­tial solutions for Ex­mouth and the port of Broome’s in­fra­struc­ture is­sues.

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