THE CRUISE industry in Townsville is booming – and it’s only going to get bigger. 

This week, the city will welcome a record four cruise ships in eight days, and the 4000 tourists who hop off them will pour an estimated $1 million into local businesses, according to Townsville Enterprise’s Lisa Woolfe.

“We know that cruise passengers have a high propensity to return to places they enjoy. So, we always make sure that the welcome they receive is second to none and the experiences they participate in are the best on offer,” Ms Woolfe said. 

On Monday (4 March) the Viking Orion, a 228-metre vessel, was the first ship to dock at the Port of Townsville with nearly 1000 tourists and 465 crew.  

The Seven Seas Mariner (5 March) will follow, as will the Silver Muse while the Seven Seas Navigator will end the bumper week as it arrives with its nine-million-dollar art collection. 

And the local businesses, including various tourist operators, will no doubt welcome the visitors with open arms. 

Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby told DCN the port would only get busier in 2024. 

“A few years ago we decided to focus on cruising with the construction of our cruise terminal and we are now starting to see record bookings for cruise liners,” Ms Crosby said.  

“We have 17 cruise ships this year but already for next year we’re at 29 cruise ships so it’s exciting. 

“The passengers rate the place. It’s not a well-known destination but they love Magnetic Island and Billabong Sanctuary. 

“You can get the outback, reef and rainforest all within an hour of Townsville, so they get plenty to explore. It’s great for the tourism operators here.” 

The port will be able to not only take more cruise ship next year, but bigger ones thanks to the channel widening project which is now taking place and will be completed by the middle of the year. 

“These larger vessels will hold up to 3000 passengers and crew, demonstrating the upgrade’s role in significantly growing Townsville’s tourism sector,” Ms Crosby said.  

“They’re (cruise liners) starting to change their itineraries a bit.” 

This week, cruise ship passengers will include some Australians, as well as visitors from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, New Zealand, US, UK and Canada.