NEW figures show Western Australia’s cruise sector injected more than $333 million into the state’s economy over the past financial year.
According to the statistics from the Australian Cruise Association, cruise ships docked in WA ports more than 150 times over the year.
The Port of Fremantle had a particularly bumper year with 33 cruise ship visits.
The strong results come as the upcoming cruise season kicks off with the arrival of the Coral Princess on Saturday, 11 November, bringing 2000 passengers into the Port of Fremantle.
In 2023-24, cruise ships will visit WA more than 140 times across seven of WA’s ports – Albany, Busselton, Broome, Esperance, Exmouth, Fremantle and Geraldton.
Fremantle will greet the most cruise ships, with nearly 30 cruise visits bringing more than 36,000 passengers and 17,000 crew to the port city this financial year.
Broome will also enjoy visits from some of the world’s leading expedition cruise brands in 2023-24 including Ponant, Silversea, National Geographic Lindblad and Australia’s own Coral Expeditions.
Tourism WA recently launched the Western Australian Cruise Tourism Strategic Plan 2023-2033, which outlines plans to further build on the sector’s success.
The plan prioritises enhancing onshore activities and experiences for visitors, as well as attracting new cruise lines to WA, expanding WA itineraries, and further developing marine infrastructure across the state.
State tourism minister Rita Saffioti said WA is a premier destination for big ship and expedition cruising.
“Our government has been proud to support the WA cruise sector and help the industry rebuild from the pandemic, and knowing it’s delivered $333 million back into the economy is such welcome news,” she said.
“We will continue to work with the global cruise industry to bring more ships to our shores, while we also continue to work with WA tourism operators to help cruise passengers have the best possible experiences along our beautiful coastline and in our seven port destinations.”
On Friday (20 October), the spring/summer season of cruise officially began with the safe arrival into Fremantle Ports of the Coral Geographer, the first of many vessels that our trained professionals will guide deftly alongside Victoria Quay.
Once disembarked in Fremantle, visitors then connect with a broad and diverse range of inbound tourism options, assisted by the destination marketing team at the City of Fremantle.
“There is a busy schedule of cruise ship visits planned,” Fremantle Ports manager government relations Neil Stanbury said. “And we are working with the City of Fremantle and Tourism WA to ensure that we optimise their experience and connect them with great local attractions.”
Fremantle Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge said she hopes visitors from interstate and overseas linger longer to enjoy everything the city has to offer.
“Cruise ships make a valuable contribution to the local economy. Our businesses benefit from the extra trade and attractions like the Fremantle Markets, Fremantle Prison and Fishing Boat Harbour receive a boost in visitation,” Ms Fitzhardinge said.