Unique attractions the key

Tari JeffersSouth Western Times
Tourism industry leads are planning ways to make Bunbury a more desirable cruise ship destination.
Camera IconTourism industry leads are planning ways to make Bunbury a more desirable cruise ship destination. Credit: Tari Jeffers

Innovative shore experiences are the key to Bunbury becoming a premier destination in Western Australia’s $276 million cruise ship industry, according to Bunbury experts gunning for a bigger slice of the cruise tourism pie.

Cruise Bunbury acting chairman Mark Exeter and Bunbury Geographe Tourism Partnership acting tourism marketing and development manager Michelle McCully were part of the Bunbury representation at an event with eight of the global cruise ship companies in Perth last week.

The WA Cruise Exchange provided the State’s 11 port destinations the opportunity to market their region face-to-face and promote their region as a tourism hotspot.

Mr Exeter said Bunbury’s $2 million cruise ship industry could be improved by the region providing new and innovative shore excursions that visitors could not experience anywhere else.

“Feedback we had last year was there was a need for indigenous tours,” he said.

“The feedback we’re getting about the brand new Dolphin Discovery Centre is outstanding.

“That’s why it was great to have the Dolphin Discovery Centre’s general manager David Kerr and Troy Bennell there last week promoting what they have to offer.”

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the State Government was committed to building on the $276 million cruise industry’s relationships to see the number increase.

“The fact that this event is increasing in popularity reflects the growing appetite the cruise lines have for the unique experiences available in our State,” he said.

Mr Exeter said Cruise Bunbury’s next task was to ramp up the destination’s national and international marketing.

He added it was also important to build on a cruise ship’s welcoming reception.

“Last time, we had live music by local musicians that had passengers dancing as they were waiting to disembark,” he said.

“There was a great feel when the ship arrived and we want to improve on it.”

Mrs McCully said meeting face-to-face with cruise operators opened up doors to allow Bunbury leaders to liaise directly with the companies.

“The areas of opportunities for growth include showcasing our Geographe Alternative Wine Trail, four-wheel-drive tours, art food and beverage options and leisure pursuits such as golf,” she said.

“The feedback from the delegates was positive and they commented that Western Australia was emerging as a desirable cruise ship destination.”

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