The Queensland Government said no to the Gold Coast cruise ship terminal proposal that had been on the table when it was elected to office in 2015.
Now it has been revealed that more cruise ships sailed into Queensland in the last year than any other Australian state and the Gold Coast is missing out on all the action.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said a record 329 cruise ships visited the Sunshine State in 2015-16.
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The figures come from the Australian Cruise Association’s Economic Impact Assessment of the Cruise Industry in Australia report.
The Premier said “We attracted the most ships of any Australian state, proving once again, Queensland is a favoured location for these vessels to visit and build on our already record number of inbound travellers.
“The 20 per cent increase shows we are already leading the nation in attracting these cruising holiday makers.
“Passenger numbers have already increased by more than a 100,000 on the previous year to 776,000, contributing $265 million to the Queensland economy.
“Many of our ports will double the number of cruise ship arrivals over the next 12 months,” the Premier said.
Brisbane will host Royal Caribbean’s $A1.3 billion mega-liner – Ovation of the Seas – the largest cruise ship ever to be based in Australia on a scheduled visit in February. Ovation of the Seas spans the length of three football fields. It features over 18 decks and can accommodate 5,000 guests plus 1500 crew.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said 22 February will be a mega-ship day for the Port of Brisbane.
“Both the Ovation of the Seas and P & O’s Arcadia will berth here then, bringing 7300 passengers to our city.
“In fact five cruise ships will visit Brisbane over that bumper week, bringing with them 12,600 passengers, Ms Jones said.
“The cruise boom has already boosted a record year for Queensland tourism.
“And Ports right along our coastline are benefitting too.
“I was privileged to welcome the Pacific Jewel to Gladstone in March this year, the first cruise ship for the region..
“Since that time Gladstone has welcomed a further five ships while other new ports such as Fraser Island and Mooloolaba are proving enormously popular with cruise operators.”
Port of Brisbane had a 22 per cent increase with 148 calls, Cairns received 50 cruise ship visits while the Whitsundays had 43, Moreton Island 33, Port Douglas 29, Mooloolaba and Thursday Island seven, Gladstone four, Cooktown and Townsville three, and the Fraser Coast two.
Ms Jones said Thursday Island also continued to grow in popularity, having had seven ship calls with nine ships booked for the coming year.
“Queensland offers cruise ships a wide variety of destinations to visit including Brisbane, our tropical islands and golden beaches and the Great Barrier Reef.
“We know how vitally important it is to grow our tourism economy and create more jobs for Queenslanders,” she said.