Luxury international liner adds Gladstone to its itinerary
THE number of cruises bringing thousands of people to the region each year is set to double in 2019 with the addition of a new liner.
The 1890-passenger SuperStar Virgo, which will be re-branded and renamed Explorer Dream next year, will dock in Gladstone six times between October and late-December 2019.
The luxury vessel features 15 restaurants and bars, a Zodiac theatre, a giant water slide and a Greek-themed swimming pool. SuperStar Virgo is currently owned by Hong Kong company Star Cruises.
But next year it will be moved to the Dream Cruises fleet and undergo a $30 million transformation.
Minister for Tourism Kate Jones said the new cruise liner would further increase the region's tourism spending and domestic and international visitors.
"Today we're announcing another company is choosing to have a cruise ship come to Gladstone, which takes the total to six (cruise liners)," she said.
"We've gone from one company to six in a matter of two years and we will double the amount of cruise ships coming to Gladstone next year."
Gladstone Area Promotion Development Limited chief executive Darryl Branthwaite said 16 cruise ships were scheduled to dock at the Port City next year.
He said the addition of the Dream Explorer was the result of ongoing discussions between Tourism Events Queensland and the cruise liner.
"Tourism Events Queensland's role in this isn't to be underestimated, they're our voice in the offshore markets and brands and it's great to have them in our corner," he said.
Mr Branthwaite hopes next year cruise passengers arriving in Gladstone will be able to enjoy a one-day reef trip.
He said the activity was still in the planning stages, but GAPDL is looking at three potential locations, including Wistari Reef.
"Having that reef trip will increase the interest in visiting Gladstone even further," Mr Branthwaite said.
According to GAPDL, 32,000 cruise passengers have visited the region and they spend an average of $297 during their stay.
The new cruise liner announcement comes off the back of record spending during the past 12 months at Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Tourism Research Australia's domestic visitor data showed $1.12 billion was spent in the region in the year to June.
It also found 2.66 million travellers visited the SGBR, an 11.8 per cent increase.