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MEDIA RELEASE - Portland headlines Australian cruise conference

6 September 2019

Portland has been profiled as one of the country’s key regional cruise destinations at Australia’s peak industry conference in Geelong this week.

Glenelg Shire Council councillor Karen Stephens, who chairs council’s Tourism Advisory Committee, presented at the Australian Cruise Conference alongside some of the globe’s leading cruise companies.

The presentation included a promotional video highlighting the region’s key on-shore products, further highlighting the newly World Heritage listed Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, which was one of the key talking points of the conference.

“The cruise industry is growing at a phenomenal rate, and it was a fantastic opportunity to share our cruise story with some of the industry’s biggest players,” Cr Stephens said.

“It took our shire two decades of hard work lobbying to realise the opportunities we are now enjoying. Product development has been a key in this success, and the industry is extremely excited with the emerging tours and experiences which will be created as a result of the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape.

“This conference has only reinforced our confidence that this sector will play a serious role in our tourism economy well into the future.”

The cruise industry supports more than 15,000 jobs nationally contributing $4.5 billion to the economy.

Mayor Cr Anita Rank, who also attended the conference, said more than five per cent of Australia’s population, or 1 in 17 Australian’s cruised annually, equating the highest market penetration globally.

She said the conference illustrated the “staggering growth” in the industry, and highlighted the opportunities and issues this created.

“If cruising was a country it would be the fourth largest in the world – this is an astonishing scenario and one that is predicted to grow. In the late 1980s three million people cruise, today that figure is more than 30 million injecting $134 billion into the world’s economy,” Cr Rank said.

“It is pleasing to learn that Australia is on the top three destination bucket lists for travellers, meaning more opportunities are likely to arise for us into the future. However, it is critical in this competitive market that we remain relevant, creating new and unique on-shore tours which cater to all demographics and nationalities.

“Furthermore, Australia is considered one of the globes most expensive markets to dock due to port charges, government fees, food and drink costs and fuel and repair charges. It is important we work together as a sector to inject strategies so growth is sustainable.”

The first cruise ship of the season, the Vasco Da Gama from the Cruise Maritime Voyages fleet is due to arrive on 29 December 2019. It is one of 10 cruise vessels confirmed to dock in Portland over the next three seasons to 2022.

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