PORT Douglas has proved to be one of the favourite destinations for cruise ship passengers in Australia.
The result comes in the wake of the release of the Tourism Pearls - Cruise Ship Welcome Audit Report April 2012 which looked at all of Queensland’s eight ports and how they interacted with cruise ship passengers.
The report was based on a recent cruise liner visit and the responses of 2000 passengers.
“The far north region received such great feedback from the report, Port Douglas Meridien Marina in particular,’’ Julie O’Brien from Tourism Queensland said.
“Port Douglas is internationally renowned and there is always talk of how Port Douglas welcomes cruise ship passengers.
“It is a postcard destination of what passengers want; palm trees, smiling and happy people; the classic love boat experience.”
Tourism Port Douglas Daintree executive officer Doug Ryan said the result of the audit was a great outcome for the port.
“When you have 2000 pas- sengers disembarking and visiting for such a short time, there is only a limited window of opportunity to make their stay memorable.”
Mr Ryan said comments such as “best port so far”, “feels like New Orleans meets tropical North Queensland, great atmosphere” and “best of the lot along the Queensland coast due to tours, availability, and atmosphere/band on arrival”, paid homage to the volunteers that gave up their time to greet passengers as well as the businesses and operators in Port Douglas and Daintree who went out of their way to make visitors feel welcome.
“It is the little things that count, a happy greeting, the closeness of the port to the town as well as having all available information on hand such as tours, maps and visitor information guides, that go a long way to enhancing the visitor experience,” he said.
With 100 per cent of respondents to the survey rating the “welcome/sense of arrival “as very high, passengers were extremely pleased with what Port Douglas had to offer.
With a four piece jazz band playing when passengers embarked and a range of vol- unteers and operators all providing a welcome and offering advice and tour options.
One passenger comment read “Feels like New Orleans meets tropical North Queensland, it has a great atmosphere.”
The only concern raised was the condition of the bathrooms, needing repairs and cleaning.
Peter Jones from Meridien Marina said those issues had since been remedied and there should be no more problems.
“Last weekend’s Cruise Ship was a success for town, it was a very busy day and passengers were happy,” he said.
Mr Ryan said it was important not to underestimate the importance of the cruise market to the Port Douglas and Daintree region. In 2009/10 Port Douglas had 19 visit days with more than 34,535 passengers and 7258 crew.
The direct expenditure of these passengers was $2.9 million with $500,000 spent by crew.
This combined with an operator spend of $1.8m, totals $5.1 million of money put back into the region.
The next cruise ship scheduled for Port Douglas is the Pacific Dawn on August 15.