New dawn for cruise ship mar­ket

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

TO­DAY marks the ar­rival of the first cruise ship to visit Air­lie Beach since Cy­clone Deb­bie hit on March 28.

Pa­cific Dawn’s roughly 2000 pas­sen­gers will dis­em­bark through the Abell Point Ma­rina.

And that’s not all. On Fri­day, about 2500 pas­sen­gers from the cruise ship Ra­di­ance of the Sea will come into town via the Port of Air­lie pas­sen­ger ter­mi­nal and Pa­cific Dawn will be back in town on Mon­day, April 17.

Ann Sherry AO, the ex­ec­u­tive chair­woman of Car­ni­val Aus­tralia, was in the Whit­sun­days yes­ter­day along­side Queens­land Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk and State Tourism Min­is­ter Kate Jones en­sur­ing ev­ery­thing was ready for Thurs­day’s visit.

“We have con­fi­dence in this re­gion – and it’s been amaz­ing ar­riv­ing to­day to see the streets full of peo­ple and the shops open,” she said.

Ms Sherry said Car­ni­val had been as­sur­ing Pa­cific Dawn’s pas­sen­gers “and talk­ing to them about what to ex­pect so that they un­der­stand that we’re part of the re­build and re­silience story”.

“For the month of April we’ll bring 6000 peo­ple into Air­lie Beach and to dis­trib­ute around the re­gion – and that re­ally is a sign we be­lieve ev­ery­thing is ready,” she said.

“We’re en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to come back to the re­gion as well and we want to sup­port a re­gion that’s been re­ally good for us.

“We’ve been able to bring tens of thou­sands of peo­ple here over the last few years and... we want peo­ple to con­tinue to have that great ex­pe­ri­ence.

“On Thurs­day we’re go­ing to have a grand cel­e­bra­tion as we ar­rive and an­nounce I guess that we’re back in with you guys as well.

“I’ve been amazed at how much en­ergy there is, how much is open, and in fact, how fan­tas­tic it looks.

“I think in a cou­ple of weeks, you’ll prob­a­bly won­der whether there’s ever been a cy­clone here.

“I’m sure peo­ple lo­cally will re­mem­ber that but for peo­ple vis­it­ing, it’s all about the touch, it’s all about the look and it’s about the abil­ity to get out and have a look and I’m con­fi­dent that we’ll be able to de­liver that.”

Brian Richard­son, who helps co­or­di­nate vol­un­teers who wel­come cruise ship pas­sen­gers to Air­lie Beach, said the lo­cal vol­un­teers were “hot to trot”.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

CRUIS­ING ALONG: The P&O Pa­cific Dawn is set to be­come the first cruise ship to re­turn to Air­lie Beach fol­low­ing Cy­clone Deb­bie.

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