TOURISM Tropical North Queensland is expecting a 25 per cent increase in cruise ship visits over the next 12 months.
With 26 liners expected to moor off Port Douglas this year, TTNQ CEO Rob Giason said the main target is to develop the region as a cruise tourism destination and encourage cruise liners to stay longer and make the three regional ports - Yorkey’s Knob, Cairns and Port Douglas - itinerary ports in their own right.
“We aim to promote the area as a destination, to keep ships here longer and maximise the benefits to tourism and other businesses alike.” he said.
“We have sufficient capacity to become recognised as a destination port, the key is in itinerary planning.
“There is a vast number of activities in this unique area along with the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and rainforest.”
With recent arguments surrounding port access and the announcement Trinity Inlet will be dredged to facilitate the growing number of cruise liner visits, Mr Giason rejected claims current port options are insufficient to meet the needs of cruise liners.
“Yorkey’s Knob, Cairns and Port Douglas offer a range of different choices to the consumer, and also allow different communities the benefits of cruise ship visitations,” he said. “Marketing is the key at the moment, talking to the right people and educating people about our wonderful region as an itinerary destination.”
TTNQ represented the region in a bid to expand cruise ship visitations at the leading international exhibition and conference serving the cruise industry ’Cruise Shipping Miami’ this month in the USA.
Also exhibiting this year were Tourism Queensland and Cruise Down Under working together to promote the region to the world’s cruise itinerary planners in 2013/14 season.