PORT of Townsville is looking down the barrel of a bumper cruise season with 18 vessels scheduled to call.

Silver Muse arrived at the port today (Thursday 23 November), kicking off the season.

A statement from the port said more than 21,000 passengers and crew will disembark in Townsville this summer.

Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said the bumper season is the first sign of some big things to come for Townsville’s cruise industry.

“It is very encouraging to see our cruise bookings grow by 50% from last season to this one, exceeding the strong growth rate the industry is seeing across the entire Australian market,” Ms Crosby said.

“New data shows that the cruise industry generated $5.63 billion for Australia’s economy in its first year of post-covid revival. This is the industry’s highest ever impact, representing a 22% increase from 2018-19.”

Ms Crosby said Port of Townsville has worked closely with Townsville Enterprise, Townsville City Council and tourism partners to grow the town’s slice of the pie since the opening of Quayside Terminal in 2014.

“Our current Channel Upgrade project will drive growth in Townsville’s cruise visitation as we prepare to welcome large class cruise vessels next season, with record bookings for the next three consecutive years,” she said.

Townsville Enterprise director visitor economy and marketing Lisa Woolfe said the cruise season will be a huge win for a range of Townsville North Queensland businesses across summer.

“More than 20,000 passengers and crew members will contribute in excess of $4.7 million to the local economy,” Ms Woolfe said.

“Cruise passengers are a great injector into the visitor economy at this time of year and support a number of tour and experiences businesses right across the region, but also share this contribution with small businesses such as transport providers, arts and entertainment businesses, restaurants, bars, cafes and retailers.”