Cruise ship bosses in Port with eye on future
TWO cruise liner industry powerbrokers are scoping out Port Douglas for its potential as a premier destination on the cruise ship itinerary.
About 20 ships will visit Port Douglas in 2010, injecting up to $4 million into the local economy.
Tourism Port Douglas Daintree executive officer Doug Ryan said he hopes to build on current levels of popularity.
Mr Ryan hosted Royal Caribbean Cruises president Craig Milan, who is based in Miami, last weekend.
Royal Caribbean Cruises already includes Port Douglas on the itinerary for ocean liners such as Rhapsody of the Seas.
“They’re looking at repositioning a couple more ships into the Pacific, which bodes well for us,” Mr Ryan said.
“This is a rapidly growing cruise market and as they develop bigger ships they’re putting them into the Caribbean and medium-sized ships into the Pacific.”
Mr Ryan said it was important for future economic growth to ensure Port Douglas did not drop off the radar of cruise ship companies.
“We want to make sure the momentum continues for ships to visit Port Douglas as there are moves to pressure them to stay longer in Cairns and reduce their trips to us,” he said.
But he said the upgrade of Cairns Port to allow ships to dock alongside the wharf would not detract from the appeal of visiting Port Douglas, where ships must anchor offshore.
“When you consider cruising in the Pacific there are very few ports where they can go alongside, most are offshore anchorage,” Mr Ryan said.
“From Hong Kong down to Vietnam they have to anchor offshore so cruise companies are very used to it.”
Mr Ryan warned local tourism operators not to underestimate the value of cruise ship passengers to their businesses.
“They have lot of prebooked tours so you don’t always see them,” he said.
“Some jump on a coach and go to the Daintree and Mossman Gorge for rainforest tours and a huge amount jump on reef boats, one of our big drawcards is the reef.”
Princess Cruises vicepresident of shore operations Bruce Krumrine will visit Port Douglas for a meeting with Mr Ryan this weekend.
Both cruise liner heavyweights are in Australia to appear at Cruise Down Under, an industry conference held in Brisbane this week.
Cruising: TPDD’s Doug Ryan, Michael Barnett from Ports North, Craig Milan from Royal Caribbean International and Brian Hennessy from Tourism Tropical North Queensland discuss plans for expansion.