Bunbury: get ready to welcome cruise guests

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

Mayor Gary Brennan says CBD businesses should already be opening their doors on Sundays following calls from the Cruise Bunbury committee for stores to take advantage of the first cruise ship visit of the year.

The Azamara Journey will dock in Bunbury on January 28 – a Sunday – with more than 700 passengers and crew set to disembark and find out what the city has to offer.

Cruise Bunbury acting chairman and South West Development Commission business and industry development officer Mark Exeter said the visit was a great opportunity for the city and businesses were encouraged to open for the day.

But Mr Brennan said shops should already be open on Sundays in an effort to attract visitors into the city.

“Businesses can open up Sundays now and some of them do, most don’t,” Mr Brennan said.

“I think, not only cruise ship passengers but visitors in general, particularly at this time of year when a lot of people who may holiday further south, come through Bunbury looking for lunch or a coffee or a cake and what have you ... and when they walk around it might be a bit of impulse buying.

“Businesses have to be giving potential customers the opportunity of shopping.

“I applaud those that do open every Sunday.”

The cruise ship will be docked in Bunbury for six hours and the Cruise Bunbury committee is preparing a “red carpet welcome” for passengers.

But Mr Exeter said businesses and the community both had a role in welcoming the visitors.

“The Bunbury Cruise committee will be putting out the welcome mat, but everyone can play a role in ensuring that Bunbury is remembered fondly by those visiting the city,” Mr Exeter said.

“Cruise ship passengers are known to be return passengers with some coming back to visit a place in more depth at a later date.

“It can be as simple as being a friendly face or providing directions to cruise ship passengers.

“Businesses can put up a welcome sign and provide special offers to cruise ship passengers.”

Cruise Bunbury committee member and City of Bunbury tourism, events and promotions manager Isabell Evans echoed encouragement for businesses to open their doors.

“We just want to encourage them to be open and maybe offer something special,” Ms Evans said.

A number of passengers have already booked tours including at the Dolphin Discovery Centre, Bunbury Wildlife Park and into Ferguson Valley.

Bunbury businesses are being encouraged to include special offer flyers in welcome packs being prepared by Bunbury Visitor Centre.

Free posters are also available for stores from Bunbury Geographe Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Crystal Symphony will also tie up in Bunbury on February 7.

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