Destination Wollongong is welcoming Royal Caribbean’s commitment to continue looking at Port Kembla for cruise ship turnarounds.
General manager Mark Sleigh said it was extremely encouraging that Royal Caribbean was still investigating options to grow the cruise opportunity for Wollongong.
Mr Sleigh said Cruise Line International Association recently reported the cruise market in Australia grew by 21 per cent in 2016. That trend of double digit growth has now lasted 11 years now and shows no sign of slowing down. “In order to continue to facilitate growth in this rapidly expanding sector, a solution needs to be found for the capacity constraints in Sydney Harbour,” he said.
Mr Sleigh was responding to comments from Royal Caribbean Australia and New Zealand managing director Adam Armstrong who said the only thing really stopping the large international cruise line doing turnarounds at Port Kembla was port access.
In order to continue to facilitate growth in this rapidly expanding sector, a solution needs to be found for the capacity constraints in Sydney Harbour
Mr Sleigh said it was great that Wollongong was still on the turnaround radar. “Whilst the industry continues to look for new infrastructure options in Sydney Harbour, immediate alternatives need to be activated so that we do not lose ships to Asia. Port Kembla has the infrastructure to provide this alternative immediately”.
“There are numerous examples of ports around the world where the actual berthing facilities are located between one and three hours travel time from the capital city they represent. Civitavecchia is 80km’s from Rome, Southhampton is 128km’s from London and Le Havre is 196km from Paris. Port Kembla is 93km from Sydney Harbour and 80km from Sydney International Airport and is a genuine alternative to ensure we don’t lose this business interstate, or worse still, overseas.”
“There is absolutely no reason why cruise visitors would miss out on Sydney Harbour as ships turning around in Port Kembla could still do a day visit..allowing them to experience one of the world’s great harbours and experience the range of attractions available in Sydney. The risk if we don’t provide a genuine, attractive alternative to industry is that ships continue to move to Asia. Asia is the only market growing faster than Australia, and if we don’t make it easy for the cruise industry to operate in the Australian market, they will have no hesitation in moving their ships to cruise ready destinations which is a wasted opportunity for the NSW economy.”