Carnival has pledged its support to Queensland following the devastation caused by Cyclone Debbie, as the cruise line returned to the region this week for the first time since the natural disaster.
Ann Sherry, executive chairman of Carnival Australia, inspected cyclone-hit areas with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the state’s Tourism Minister, Kate Jones.
She confirmed Carnival’s commitment to Queensland as 2,000 passengers disembarked the Pacific Dawn cruise ship in Brisbane. The vessel will also become the first cruise ship to visit Airlie Beach since the cyclone when it calls at the Whitsundays town on Thursday.
“As a proud Queenslander, I am delighted that our cruise lines such as P&O Cruises can play a part in Queensland’s economic recovery following Cyclone Debbie,” Ms Sherry said. “Coastal areas are heavily dependent on tourism for jobs and the visitor economy generally so the communities need visitors to return to help them rebuild.
“The sight of cruise ships returning to cyclone affected destinations is a signal to people around Australia and internationally that tourism is bouncing back and that they should consider holidaying in Queensland,” she added.
The arrival of P&O Cruises’ Pacific Dawn marks the first of three P&O calls to the Whitsunday coast this month. A total of 34 ships from across Carnival Australia’s various cruise brands are scheduled to visit the region this year – eight more than in 2016 – while 48 visits are scheduled next year.
In 2015-16, cruising contributed AU$976 million (US$732m) to the Queensland economy – 53% more than in 2014-15.
“Record cruising growth in Queensland is perfectly timed for cruise tourism to play a significant role in the post cyclone resurgence of local tourism. We are proud to be part of it,” Ms Sherry concluded.