Time to get Port City's cruisers over Goondoon St hill
OUR industrial city is taking in a share of the lucrative cruise industry, which posted a new record of Queensland visits to 468 ships.
Seven cruise ships visited Gladstone in the 2016 - 17 financial year, up from four the year prior.
But while Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher and tourism bodies celebrate the P and O Cruise Ship arrivals to the Port City, small businesses are yet to pop the champagne.
Mr Butcher said recent data from the Cruise Lines International Association showed the cruise ship industry is booming, and Gladstone was a great place to capitalise on the business opportunity.
The number of cruise visits to Queensland have almost doubled compared to the 238 in 2012 - 13.
"Cruise ship visits are a lucrative business so it's great to see this activity in Gladstone," he said.
But while small business owner Tania Hempseed said the cruise ship visits were beneficial to Gladstone, the hundreds of visitors made little impact to her sales.
The owner of Goondoon St clothing boutique Hidden Wardrobe said more needed to be done to lure the visitors over the main street's hill.
"I've found they will only walk past (our end of Goondoon St), if they need to go to the Chemist Warehouse to get something," she said.
"I think it's great we have the (East Shores) markets but sometimes I wish we had a bit more focus on small businesses."
Ms Hempseed's boutique opened in April in the heritage-listed building that once homed the Commonwealth Bank in 1928.
"We put balloons on our sign when the cruise ships are on, but maybe we need to do a bit more like go down to East Shores and hand out flyers," she said.
Four cruise ship visits are scheduled for next year, a decline due to the $29.5 million upgrade to East Shores, which is expected to start early in 2018.
The upgrade to the Gladstone Ports Corporation's park and water facilities include the construction of a dedicated cruise ship facility in a bid to attract different liners to the city.
"The great news is that this development will put us in a better place to receive more cruise ship business and will allow more visitors to get to the reef - one of the region's greatest tourism assets," Mr Butcher said.