28 Oct 2015
Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Deputy Chief Minister of the Northern Territory
Darwin is set for its busiest cruise ship year ever with the official season kicking off today with the arrival of the Voyager of the Seas.
Chief Minister and Tourism Minister Adam Giles said a record 46 cruise ship visits are expected in Darwin in 2015-16 with 30 of these visits coming over the 'cruise season' which runs from now until the end of April.
"The Northern Territory's cruise industry provides an important boost for tourism in the Top End, injecting $54 million into the local economy last financial year," he said.
"The 46 cruise ship visits this financial year will carry a passenger capacity of more than 70,000 – the largest Darwin has ever had.
"The cruise industry is extremely important to our overall NT tourism industry as it provides an influx of tourists into the region during the off-peak and shoulder seasons.
"Cruise ship passengers and crew undertake tours while in the Top End, visit local attractions and shop at local retail outlets, cafes and restaurants.
"With almost half the cruise ship visits this season arriving in Darwin on Saturdays, Sundays or public holidays, we strongly encourage retailers, tour operators, cafes and restaurants to open their doors on these days to take advantage of the economic boost these visits could bring."
Mr Giles said recent research had shown that around 70 per cent of cruise ship visitors explore on arrival and don't have anything planned.
"This is a golden opportunity for all local tourism operators and businesses and I urge them to grasp it with both hands," he said.
"According to figures released by the Australian Cruise Association last month, the average daily spend per passenger in Darwin was up to $288. As well as spending more, the number of passenger days in port also increased to an estimated 49,411.
"We warmly welcome the cruise industry here to the Territory and we are certainly ready for more cruise ship traffic, including expedition cruise ships exploring our remote northern coastlines.
"One of the centrepieces of our 2015-16 Budget was the installation of a new shaded walkway that will allow cruise ship passengers to stroll from the terminal to the Waterfront Precinct in comfort.
"It's all part of the Country Liberals Government's plan to drive the development of North Australia and build a $2.2 billion visitor economy by 2020."
Some of the highlights of the Darwin cruise season include:
The busiest cruise ship day this season will be 20 March 2016 with two ships bringing up to 4634 passengers to be in port;
The largest ships scheduled to visit are Voyager of the Seas on 28 October 2015 and 23 April 2016 (3138 passenger capacity), Celebrity Solstice on 10 March 2016 (2850 passenger capacity) and Diamond Princess on 29 October 2015 (2670 passenger capacity);
Three ships will be making their maiden visits to Darwin - Azamara Quest on the 28 December 2015, Le Soleal on 4 March 2016 and Golden Princess on 13 April 2016.
Cruise ships arriving in Darwin on public holidays include the Azamara Quest (Boxing Day holiday), the Europa (Australia Day), the Silver Discoverer (Easter Monday) and Dawn Princess (Queens Birthday holiday).
Media Contact: Scott Whitby 0438 531 583