THE first of six cruise ships visiting Gladstone next year is expected on March 19.
Planning for the arrival of passengers on a seven-day cruise is in the hands of a small group of people keen to hear what Gladstone's entrepreneurs have to offer.
Already, fishing tours and a visit to Seventeen-Seventy's Larc are definite options, but group chairman, and deputy mayor, Matt Burnett said more opportunities were needed - and quickly.
"The inbound tour operator, Bob Woods Group, is making its final decisions in the next week or two to determine which organised tours they will promote beforehand and onboard," he said.
"From what we understand, about 1000 of the 3000 passengers are expected to take up the organised tours, but there will be another 2000 who will make their decisions for the day when they arrive.
"They are the people we need to make sure have a unique experience.
"They will be wanting to try our food, our local beers; they could be interested in art tours, to take a look at our gardens, or they could well be interested in the industry tour opportunities we have. We need to make sure we cover every eventuality, and do the job well."
The ship will berth at the northern end of the main wharf, and the passengers' first glimpse of Gladstone will be of HMAS Gladstone and East Shores where there are plans to hold markets, which will become a regular feature, possibly before the end of the year.