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Cruise Ships & Tourism

The Port of Townsville is critical to cruise tourism for North Queensland, and will welcome more than 38,000 passengers and crew to Townsville during 2017 & 2018.

Over the past two years, visitation numbers by cruise ships has tripled, with 19 ship visits booked for the year 2018, including Townsville’s first “ship turnaround”, meaning people in our community will be able to board a cruise in their home city for the first time.  Our forecasts predict 30 ship visits to Townsville by 2021.

Market research indicates cruise passengers spend, on average, $275 each in every port of call on tours, food and beverage and other tourism attractions, making the industry worth several millions of dollars each year to our local economy.

Due to the current channel width restrictions, Townsville is unable to accept cruise ships longer than 238 metres in length. As with commercial vessels, new cruise ship builds are growing in size. This means without channel widening, Townsville’s opportunity to increase its share of the cruise tourism market would decrease over time.

In 2017, the Port of Townsville had declined four berth applications from cruise ships because they were longer than 238 metres.