CRUISE ON IN….

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL VIS­I­TORS TO THE SUN­SHINE COAST HAVE IN­CREASED BY 8.2 PER CENT , EX­CEED­ING THE AUS­TRALIAN GROWTH FIG­URE OF 7.1 PER CENT, AND THEY ARE COM­ING BY PLANE, ROAD AND BOAT, NAMELY LUX­URY CRUISE SHIPS

Life & Style Weekend - - BUSINESS - WORDS: JEN­NIFER SWAINE

Ilove cruis­ing. I only dis­cov­ered this in re­cent years when we went on a cruise with very dear friends who are cruis­ing vet­er­ans, hav­ing been on nearly 30 dif­fer­ent cruises, all over the world, in the past 25 years. I was al­ways a bit ner­vous at the thought of cruis­ing – af­ter all, it’s not like you can get off easily if you de­cide it’s not for you. Thank­fully, we loved it. We loved the fact that you can wake up in a new port ev­ery few days. We loved ex­pe­ri­enc­ing di­verse cul­tures and scenery, and we loved that you are taken to places you may not oth­er­wise have ever vis­ited. There is al­ways some­thing (or noth­ing) to do and chil­dren are very well catered for (tip – get them into kids/teens club on the very first day when friend­ships are formed). Cruis­ing is a won­der­ful way to just switch off, put the phone away and just en­joy the com­pany you are trav­el­ling with. You also soon ap­pre­ci­ate the value of a cruise ship on a lo­cal econ­omy. Cruise ships bring sig­nif­i­cant rev­enue into what are quite of­ten, very small and re­mote is­lands. In the South Pa­cific, there are of­ten no ports, but the ship drops an­chor in the morn­ing and you are taken ashore by ten­der in a very or­derly fash­ion to swim, shop, or sight­see. The lo­cals are al­ways friendly and wel­com­ing and un­der­stand the cruise ships play a vi­tal role in their liveli­hood. While we don’t de­pend on cruise ships for our sur­vival – they still play an im­por­tant and wel­come role in our econ­omy. It is a sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment that we have been able to have cruise lines com­mit to in­clud­ing the Sun­shine Coast as one of their des­ti­na­tions. In fact, ac­cord­ing to the Sun­shine Coast Coun­cil, “more than 18 cruise ships will stop at the Sun­shine Coast be­tween June 2016 and late 2017. Each float­ing is­land visit is ex­pected to in­ject more than $250,000 into the lo­cal econ­omy”. In 2018, we are ex­pected to wel­come 18 cruises and eight dif­fer­ent ships. We are be­ing in­cred­i­bly suc­cess­ful at en­tic­ing peo­ple to visit us and they are com­ing by boat, plane and road. The lat­est In­ter­na­tional Vis­i­tor Sur­vey, sta­tis­tics re­leased by Tourism Re­search Aus­tralia, has the Sun­shine Coast in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tor growth at 8.2 per cent which ex­ceeded the Aus­tralian growth fig­ure of 7.1 per cent. In ad­di­tion, we were also higher than other Queens­land des­ti­na­tions such as the Gold Coast which recorded growth of 4.2 per cent and Bris­bane at 4.6 per cent. This is great news all round for the Sun­shine Coast, and with the amaz­ing weather we are cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, hope­fully this will be a bumper sum­mer for our re­tail­ers, din­ing and ac­com­mo­da­tion providers. How­ever, we need to re­mem­ber we all have a role to play in en­sur­ing the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence is out­stand­ing from start to fin­ish by pro­vid­ing ex­cep­tional, friendly service ev­ery sin­gle time. A won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence is a sure­fire way of hav­ing our vis­i­tors spread the word about this awe­some re­gion we are all lucky to call home.

PHOTO: JOHN MCCUTCHEON

CRUISE SHIP: P&O's Pa­cific Jewel an­chors off Mooloolaba.

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