Planning underway to cater for cruise visitors
THE cruise liners are still two years off, but already planning has started around what Gladstone could deliver to potential visitors.
The CEO of Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Ltd, Glenn Churchill, told Tuesday's Business Enterprise luncheon that tourism was everybody's business.
"It's about making people feel welcome and make them want to come back again," Mr Churchill said.
Speakers from Carnival Australia, the company that owns the P&O brand, said Gladstone already had most of the infrastructure, a deep water harbour and enough fuel to accommodate its cruise liners.
Gladstone has been identified as a "destination" and now, they said, it was time to start marketing the first impression of the city. We need a "hero" to focus on.
Carnival Australia national destination director Michael Mihajlov said passenger numbers on cruise liners were growing by 830,000 people every year.
One ship in Gladstone's harbour could bring in 2000 passengers, and 700 crew.
"Cruising gives new destinations a spotlight," he said. "It's our job to capture the imagination of the market."
Research has shown people wanted to travel if they were given a reason. Tapping into the local harbour festival and race days could be a visitor magnet.
"Fifty percent of people will choose to do their own thing, while 50% will go on a tour," Mr Mihajlov said.
"We try to get them on tours so they fulfil some of those images and desires we market to them."
He said small cottage businesses that could cater would also be welcomed.
"We've done a study that shows short voyages leave the biggest footprint," Mr Mihajlov said.
Average age is 43
85% are families and couples
3-generation cruising is popular
Two-thirds are over 55
43% are repeat customers
WHO IS P&O TARGETING?
30 to 55-year-olds
Couples and groups (with and without kids)
Those interested in domestic destinations
Value food and wine and connecting socially
Time-poor and looking for short breaks
Head to the Tondoon Botanic Gardens to see the Japanese tea house and the vegetation unique to the region, before stopping for lunch next door at the Gecko Valley Winery with local wines and produce, where jewellery designer Miranda Manifold can hold a 'how-to' class.
Hop on a boat and take a cruise up the harbour to discover the industry that keeps Gladstone's wheels turning, before stopping at Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre where the resort will put on a lunch, before heading down to see the turtles and other wildlife.
A day trip to Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy could include learning how to surf, heading out on the 1770 Larc! Tour, fish 'n' chips on the beach, and a visit to the Agnes Water Museum that celebrates the landing of Captain Cook.
Bringing in the Calliope region, Port Curtis Historical Centre spoke about doing historical tours, and then heading to Cedar Galleries for a meal, a look at the latest artistic exhibition and letting the children run wild in a laser tag session.