Sunshine Coast business owners and operators are expected to receive a major economic boost thanks to the anticipated arrival of nine cruise ships docking on Mooloolaba’s shores this season, injecting an estimated $2 million into the local economy.
After more than two years in hiatus, the first cruise liner, Viking Orion with up to 930 passengers onboard, is scheduled to drop anchor off Mooloolaba on Monday 5 December. She has sailed from Vancouver via Asia to Australia, and onto New Zealand where she will homeport out of Sydney and Auckland for the 2022/23 season.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Wharf Mooloolaba had a disembarkation rate of more than 80 per cent of passengers who booked local tours or enjoyed The Wharf’s iconic surroundings including dining and shopping experiences.
Sunshine Coast Council Economy Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said cruise ship arrivals were an important part of the Sunshine Coast’s tourism mix as they provided a welcome economic boost for the region.
“Tourism and Events Queensland research showed cruise ship guests to the Sunshine Coast spent an average of $269 per day for each visit,” Cr O’Pray said.
“Our local businesses and tourism operators have done an outstanding job in recognising the opportunities these visits present and the positive impacts from previous visits were felt throughout the region including in our hinterland communities.”
The Surf Club Mooloolaba General Manager Bryan Jones said the Club is excited about the cruise ships returning and the benefits it will bring to the region.
“The economic boost the Sunshine Coast gains by these ships coming to Mooloolaba is extremely valuable for the Club and surrounding businesses,” Mr Jones said.
“We welcome all visitors to come into the Club to enjoy our relaxed atmosphere and delicious food while capturing an iconic photo of themselves with a cocktail in hand and the ship in the background.”
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel said the cruise ships often arrive mid-week which can really help boost businesses often during quieter trading periods.
“What makes the cruise sector so valuable for the Sunshine Coast – beyond the immediate revenue injected into local businesses – is that cruise ships tend to visit mid-week and out of peak holiday periods, so it really boosts our tourism economy when we most need it,” Mr Stoeckel said.
“The research also indicates that passengers who have a pleasurable experience during a stopover are likely to talk about the experience and return to the Sunshine Coast in the future for a holiday, providing longer term benefits. With this in mind VSC’s volunteer ambassadors will be at The Wharf to welcome passengers and help them plan their day and share a sunshine moment or two!”
Estimated arrival schedule into Mooloolaba
Monday December 5, 0800 – 2300 Viking Orion (930 pax)
Thursday December 15, 0800 – 1800 Regatta (675 pax)
Monday January 30, 0700 – 1600 Star Breeze (312 pax) (Aus)
Monday February 6, 0800 – 2000 Amera (835 pax)
Sunday January 29, 0800 – 1800 Seven Seas Explorer (809 pax)
Tuesday February 7, 0800 – 1700 Silver Muse (596 pax)
Sunday February 19, 0800 – 1700 Viking Neptune (930 pax)
Sunday February 26, 0800 – 1700 Silver Whisper (388 pax)
Sunday March 5, 0800 – 23800 Viking Orion (930 pax)
Where to find the most up to date information?
Viking Orion has an updated travel advisory on its website outlining health screening arrangements to protect guests and staff. For more advice regarding this cruise ship and its monitoring of the COVID-19 please go to https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/why-viking/health-and-safety/health-and-safety-program.html
For all health information please contact Queensland Health.
For all international visitor arrivals information please contact Australian Border Force.
For Sunshine Coast Tourism information please contact Visit Sunshine Coast.
Image: Viking Orion sailing at sunrise.