Sydney Embarks On Another Busy Cruise Ship Season

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17th October 2009, 05:27pm - Views: 569
Joe Tripodi MP
Minister for Finance
Minister for Infrastructure
Minister for Ports and Waterways
Minister for Regulatory Reform

Sydney embarks on another busy cruise ship season
October 17, 2009

Sydney is preparing for another busy cruise ship season with today's arrival of the Rhapsody of the Seas the first of more than 100 ship visits scheduled over the next six months.

Ports Minister Joe Tripodi today welcomed back the 78,000 tonne ocean liner Rhapsody of the Seas for its first visit to Sydney for the 2009-10 season.

"A total of 118 vessels are scheduled to stop off in Sydney this cruise season that's close to last year's record and we'll welcome another quarter of a million passengers to Australia's premier cruise destination," Mr Tripodi said.

Minister for Tourism Jodi McKay said the cruise business has proved a resilient sector of the tourism industry, supporting significant investment and around 1000 local hospitality and service jobs.

"The cruise industry is important to the economy contributing approximately $190 million each year in NSW and more than $430 million nationwide*," Ms McKay said.

"The continued growth of the cruise industry confirms Sydney's attraction as a popular international destination.

"The 2009/10 cruise season is looking promising with a number of new vessels set to make their inaugural visits."

Mr Tripodi said the Government and Sydney Ports Corporation have helped the cruise industry enjoy consecutive years of growth.

"We are the only Australian city to operate two dedicated passenger terminals -- at the Overseas Passenger Terminal and at Darling Harbour and we continue to work with industry to provide the right services and infrastructure."

The 2008-09 cruise season saw a record 120 cruise ship visit Sydney -- including 28 ships in 28 days over February along with more than 250,000 passengers.

Mr Tripodi said this season a number of new vessels are set to make their inaugural visits, including the Pacific Jewel on December 12, Seabourn Odyssey on 24 February, 2010 and Balmoral on March 3, 2010.

Next year will also see the return of the 151,000 tonne superliner Queen Mary 2 which will be making her third visit to Sydney, docking at Garden Island on March 7 and 8.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines CEO Gavin Smith today joined the Minister in welcoming the start of the international cruising season at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney.

"Rhapsody of the Seas has made Sydney her home port and with 12 sailings to choose from, we're looking forward to another successful Australian summer," Mr Smith said.

Sydney Ports CEO Grant Gilfillan said the Corporation's ongoing investment in the maintenance and operation of its two purpose built passenger terminals included the recent installation of a new $3 million self supporting gangway at Circular Quay.

"Once commissioning is complete, it means the Overseas Passenger Terminal can cater for a far wider range of vessels, with varying disembarking deck heights," Mr Gilfillan said.

Mr Gilfillan said Sydney's reputation as one of the world's leading cruise destinations was re-affirmed this year with its port facilities receiving two industry accolades.

"Sydney received an award for "Best Turnaround Port Operations" for 2008 by Dream World Cruise Destinations Magazine, the second time in four years, while the Overseas Passenger Terminal was also recently voted `Best Venue of the Year' at the BT Publishing E-Awards for excellence in events."

(Source: AEC Group report on behalf of Cruise Down Under, 2009)

Media Contact: Brad Schmitt (02) 9228 5451 or 0407 995505

SOURCE: Sydney Ports Corporation

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