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Ship ahoy! $145m bumper SA cruise ship season

Sea Princess cruise ship, Outer Harbor, Adelaide CREDIT: Princess Cruises
The first ship in South Australia’s 2019/20 cruise season arrives today – signalling the start of a very busy summer – and a multi-million dollar economic benefit to the state.

More than 182,000 passengers are expected to arrive in South Australian ports and anchorages over the next few months, visiting and experiencing more regional communities than ever before.

Latest statistics highlight how the growing cruise sector is a substantial contributor to the state’s economy. The most recent economic impact statistics from the 2018/19 season (*Source: Cruise Lines International Association Australia) show the sector injected more than $145 million to South Australia - compared to $118 million from the year before.

For the first time in the state’s history, Wallaroo will feature as a destination for a cruise ship, with the Vasco da Gama, carrying a capacity of 1800 passengers and crew, due to arrive in the Yorke Peninsula town for the first time on 7 December.

The same ship will also be the first cruise ship to make maiden visits to all four of South Australia’s cruise ports and anchorages in a single season – Adelaide, Port Lincoln, Kangaroo Island and Wallaroo.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway today welcomed the season’s first ship, Sea Princess, to the Port Adelaide Passenger Terminal, meeting its captain and some of the 2850 passengers and crew.

Mr Ridgway said it was an exciting time for tourism operators across South Australia, in particular in the regional areas.

“To have the ships lock in several repeat visits to Port Lincoln, Kangaroo Island and Wallaroo is an enormous boost for those communities,” he said.

“Across the state, we have 80 scheduled cruise ship visiting South Australian ports, including 38 visits to Adelaide, 26 ship visits to Penneshaw in Kangaroo Island, 13 ship visits to Port Lincoln and 3 visits to Wallaroo.

“That is a great outcome for those regions, and for all of the tour operators, pubs, wineries, shops, visitor service providers, and communities who have the opportunity to showcase their unique rural lifestyles – enviable by many across the globe.”

Mr Ridgway said several new services had been added to assist passengers arriving at Port Adelaide Passenger Terminal including boosted bike and car hire services, as well as enhanced transport management plans through support from Taxi Council SA and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure to ensure efficient and smooth transfers on the train service between Outer Harbor and Adelaide throughout the season.

“In addition, the Flinders Ports channel widening project is now complete – a game changer for the state,” he said.

“It means we are now a handful of destinations around Australia that will be able to host the next era of even larger class of cruise ships to our state.”

South Australian Tourism Commission, Chief Executive, Rodney Harrex, said the season will bring 23 different cruise ships into the state, including several new, larger vessels.

“We have been working really closely with the cruise operators, ensuring that when they arrive in SA, they have a wide range of activities to offer their passengers, all within easy range of wherever they dock,” he said.

“It is particularly exciting for the Clare Valley and coastal communities surrounding Wallaroo, who can expect three cruise ship visits, and it is great to see the community has responded by organising shore excursion programs to showcase the region, along with the Council offering a shuttle bus connecting the Copper Coast Triangle townships of Wallaroo, Kadina and Moonta.

“I know that Kangaroo Island is very well geared up for the season, planning market days and hosting other activities for visitors. It is quite rightly one of Australia’s most popular cruise destinations, with a third of all passengers onboard heading off on a pre booked shore excursion for the day they arrive, and discovering the island.

“We see similar results across the state, and know the benefits of these day trips flow on to all of the regions, contributing to the $7.6 billion spent by visitors to SA.”

“For the first time in South Australia’s cruising history, this season Princess Cruises will make three international roundtrips from Adelaide’s doorstop including New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa,” said Princess Cruises Senior Vice President Asia Pacific, Stuart Allison.

“We are continuing to cement our presence in the region, gearing up for our record South Australian season next year where we’ll operate an unprecedented 20 cruises to and from Adelaide - a move that represents the biggest ever cruise industry commitment to South Australia.”