Destination Wollongong has welcomed a new report into the cruise ship industry in NSW.
General manager Mark Sleigh said the Peter Collins Report released on Tuesday and long term planning and visions for Sydney Harbour comes at a pivotal time in the evolution of the rapidly growing tourism sector.
Destination Wollongong fully supports the plan to grow and enhance the opportunities in Sydney Harbour to accommodate both larger vessels and a greater number of cruise ships.
Mr Sleigh said long-term planning was key to ensuring the future growth of a vital tourism industry and Port Kembla can share in the benefits along with other regional centres in NSW.
Whether or not Garden Island will be used by cruise lines in the future is still uncertain but Mr Sleigh said while recommendations to accommodate more and larger cruise ships in Sydney were being considered and visions unveiled, Port Kembla Harbour remained a proven destination for cruise lines.
Recent visits by Royal Caribbean ships as well as Norwegian Star showed what the port can do and how Port Kembla boasts the necessary infrastructure required by the cruise industry.
Mr Sleigh said Destination Wollongong had submitted recommendations to Mr Collins for his report and received favourable feedback. And was confident Wollongong can look forward to growing its presence in the cruise industry and welcoming more cruise ships.
Wollongong councillor Leigh Colacino said presently ships of 100,000 tonnes come into Sydney and the Peter Collins Report reveals the cruise lines are looking to build vessels twice that size. The great thing about Port Kembla is it such a deep port.
Cr Colacino said when Peter Collins delivered his report to the NSW Government this week it was exciting because Wollongong is included in the report. “There is mention of Port Kembla and what it can deliver as a supplementary port”.
Cr Colacino said other visions portrayed in the media showed what could happen in Sydney and that showed the obvious enthusiasm for cruise tourism.
“When we presented to Peter Collins and said “this is what we are offering in Port Kembla” he then invited us to present to the committee set up to finalise the paper. “We were very careful to make sure what we said was exactly what we have and what we can deliver now...and what the future could be for Port Kembla.”
Cr Colacino said if the Navy ever looks at occupying a different part of Garden Island some of its fleet could come to Port Kembla.
But the reality is with much of the vision three decades away and there is a lot of cruise ship business than can be done in Wollongong in the meantime.
And if Wollongong can help keep more cruise ships coming that is good for the NSW economy.
Cr Colacino believes in 30 years Wollongong will have cemented its place as a cruise destination and there will be a demand for it to continue delivering a premium product.