Cruise arrivals making waves

One of Asia’s newest luxury liners – The Explorer Dream – is making waves on the Sunshine Coast with the cruise ship’s arrival opening the region up to new markets.

Previously operating out of Hong Kong, The Explorer Dream has six scheduled visits to the Sunshine Coast this year from Sydney, the first on 31 October and the last scheduled to arrive on 5 December.

At least 50 per cent of passengers on board are from Asia, generating fantastic exposure of our region to new markets.

The timing of the cruise ship’s arrival is perfect, with Sunshine Coast Airport’s new international-capable runway poised to open in 2020.

While the airport expansion is expected to grow domestic and cross-Tasman routes as a first priority, the new runway will also provide future opportunities for direct flights from Asia.

The arrival of the Explorer Dream offers a welcome mid-week boost to the local economy with passengers eager to explore the region during their stop on the Sunshine Coast.

Guests are greeted at The Wharf Mooloolaba by experienced local ambassadors as part of Visit Sunshine Coast’s roving activation program who are ready to share their knowledge on the best places to visit, see, eat and drink.

Ensuring each visitor is made to feel welcome and leaves having had a wonderful experience on the Sunshine Coast is crucial for encouraging return visitation and promoting our region through referrals.

Mooloolaba is renowned for having a high cruise ship disembarkation rate, with guests eager to explore the Sunshine Coast.

What immediately sets us apart is our natural anchorage experience, with cruise liners able to anchor offshore in the sheltered Mooloolaba harbour before being brought in to The Wharf Mooloolaba.

Between 30 and 40 per cent of passengers opt to go for daytrips, planning tours and experiences before they arrive in the region.

The remaining passengers are keen to explore Mooloolaba from the beach to the bustling Esplanade and newly revitalised Wharf precinct.

In fact, cruise ship arrivals have gone a long way towards contributing to The Wharf’s regeneration, with their arrival bringing a hive of activity to the precinct’s restaurants and boutique stores.

The success of these cruise ship arrivals reinforces the Sunshine Coast’s position as a competitive and viable cruise destination, and going forward we only expect the industry to grow.