THE Australian Cruise Association has announced the speaker line-up for it annual conference.

It will be the third consecutive year that ACA has held its event outside a major metropolitan centre, with the conference set for Geelong.

Several keynote speakers have been selected to reflect the increasing interest by cruise passengers in travelling on smaller vessels which are best suited to these destinations.

Melissa Witsoe, product manager for Windstar Cruises in Seattle is to discuss the importance of finding a destination’s hidden treasures and weaving them into itineraries.

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Windstar is one of the new cruise lines soon to sail in Australian waters.

Adam Armstrong, managing director of Silversea Cruises in Australia and New Zealand is to attend as a first-time speaker to the conference.

The region is the cruise line’s third largest market with Silversea’s new flagship, Silver Muse debuting here earlier this year.

Other confirmed keynote speakers are Captain Nikolaos Antalis, association vice president marine and safety for Royal Caribbean International (APAC); and associate professor Anne Hardy from the University of Tasmania who will speak on its groundbreaking Tourism Tracer initiative.

With a focus on the value proposition, other wide-ranging conference sessions will look at cruise’s impact on the hotel sector, coach operators and attractions and the importance of destination development.

“As Victoria’s second most popular destination for cruise ships, we welcome this opportunity to further showcase our destination offerings including our beautiful waterfront, our vibrant CBD and our iconic food and wine destination along the Bellarine,” City of Greater Geelong mayor, Bruce Harwood said.

Jill Abel, CEO of ACA said, “We look forward to working with the wonderful team at Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine to highlight to our conference attendees all that is on offer in this wonderful region and continue to stimulate port visits as a result.”

The ACA conference and AGM will be held from 4-6 September, 2019.

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