'Vision': $1.3b Royal Caribbean 'mega liner' could come to Gladstone
A $3.5m investment in Gladstone's Port could bring 5000-strong boatloads of tourists into the city.
Yesterday, acting premier Curtis Pitt took an aerial tour of Gladstone Port while hearing about the vision for the Port from its chairman, Leo Zussino.
So far there has been six P&O cruise ships berth at Auckland Point carrying up to 2000 people since the company was lured here in March. This vision is to now attract vessels with more than 5000 passengers.
The research from the first cruise ship showed 90% of the 2000 passengers left the ship and spent an average of $103 in Gladstone retail stores. An increase in the number of passengers to 5000 would be a massive cash injection to the region's economy.
To attract these big vessels, Gladstone Ports Corporation is trying to secure a $3.5 million State Government investment for a new Transport Interface Hub at East Shores.
This hub would be set up for cruise liners, more pleasing on the eye and space for buses to grab the passengers and shuttle them around the region.
"Clearly you can see the plans here and the vision is great," treasurer Mr Pitt said. "We have an opportunity to see the next stage get developed."
Despite congratulating the GPC for returing about $120 million in dividends to the state coffers each year, Mr Pitt just fell short of signing a cheque for $3.5 million on the spot for the development.
"I can say as treasurer every bit counts," he said.
"Any investment we make has got to be one that shows economic benefit.
"Clearly you can see the plans here, the vision and a great opportunity to see the next stage developed."
The increase in vessels berthing in Gladstone is also developing with GPC chief executive officer Peter O'Sullivan working with different companies.
"We're continuing to talk to a number of cruise liners, they vary from the P&O vessels to some quite large vessels," he said.
"We can take vessels up to 300m but for the really large vessel with about 5000 passengers, we have to do a little bit of work."
That would include vessels like the Royal Caribbean's $1.3 billion, 5000 capacity mega-liner Ovation of the Seas which will be docked in Brisbane on February 22 next year.
It will be the largest cruise ship ever to be based in Australia and Mr Pitt said the economic affect of the new cruise liner terminal in Brisbane would flow to all the ports in Queensland.
Gladstone member Glenn Butcher was confident Gladstone could take it's share of the large vessels sooner rather than later.
"I think it's just a matter of time before Curtis Pitt and the Premier will help us out," he said.