Cruise ship bosses in Port with eye on fu­ture

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWSWS -

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.

Photo by NEIL WEAVERS

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.

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