The Queen Mary 2, one of the most magnificent ocean liners ever built, is set to dock in Busselton, cementing the Margaret River Region as one of WA’s premier cruise destinations.
The ship will cruise to Western Australia in February 2017 with Carnival Corporation, a British-American registered multinational cruise company, and the world’s largest cruise ship operator.
Cruise shipping is said to be the fastest growing segment of the travel industry and has been identified as one of the more robust sectors of the tourism industry.
According to Cruise Down Under, in 2013-14 the economic benefits of cruise, both international and domestic, to the Australian economy has a total output value of $3.16 billion, an increase of 16% over 2012-13.
Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association CEO Pip Close advised that Busselton now played host to a strong cruise shipping program, with the introduction of cruise ship visits to the area 12 months ago.
“Busselton, and the greater Margaret River Region, are compelling destinations for cruise ship travelers,” said Ms Close.
“Busselton itself is a delightful seaside township to explore, and provides a huge range of day trip options, with world-class wineries, craft breweries, stunning beaches and local attractions including ancient limestone caves and historical lighthouses nearby,” she said.
“The Diamond Princess’s recent stopover in Busselton saw more than 2,000 passengers disembark the ship; more than 30% of whom did an organized day tour of the local area, and 60% explored the Busselton area independently,” she said.
“The cruise shipping program has been a great collaboration between tourism and local government; the City of Busselton has done an exceptional job in developing the infrastructure to allow the ships to dock, and we have worked closely with the City to ensure passengers have an enjoyable experience in our region,” said Ms Close.
Busselton Mayor Ian Stubbs advised that “We would not have been able to achieve this outcome if not for the combined efforts of the City, the Geographe Bay Tourism Association, the Busselton Chamber of Commerce, and the Busselton Jetty Environment and Conservation Association.”
The Federal Government and City of Busselton have also pooled funds to create a purpose built landing directly on the Busselton Jetty, which Mayor Stubbs affirmed would “enable passengers to disembark more efficiently and comfortably” and would ultimately “significantly heighten the overall tourist experience”.
Busselton is scheduled to host 15 cruise ship visits in the next 22 months, including the Diamond Princess, the Sun Princess, and Pacific Eden.