Cairns cruise visitors to peak in March

Published: 8 March 2024

Ports North is expecting cruise ship visits to peak in March, representing the busiest period in history. The Cairns cruise liner terminal will welcome around 27,000 passengers for the month who will explore the reef, rainforest or dining and shopping experiences in the CBD.

In the six weeks to end of March, 26 ships will stop at Cairns. This will be a 37 percent increase on the same period last year, and almost 50 percent of the total number of cruise liners that docked in 2018. Several days will accommodate two ships at the same time.

Ports North CEO Richard Stevenson said improved port capacity, regional tourism experiences and convenient services contributed to steady growth.

“As a result of the successful $120 million Cairns Shipping Development project delivered in 2020, the Port of Cairns can accommodate vessels up to 300 metres. This has enabled significant growth in cruise visitation and a sustained injection to our regional economy,” he said.

“Cairns is an attractive destination as passengers can visit the Great Barrier Reef and rainforest, or many tourism, dining, and retail experiences within walking distance.

“We’re seeing that cruising is taking off globally, and Cairns is no exception. The post-pandemic recovery has accelerated faster than we anticipated, and several Australian destinations are reporting record-breaking vessel numbers.

“We continue to make sure we maintain our infrastructure for today, while considering what we need to meet the demands of the future. As a priority, all our plans must be appropriately sustainable from an economic and environmental perspective.”

Ports North is responsible for managing the wharves and terminal that facilitate cruise ships. The business is keenly monitoring industry trends to ensure the Cairns region continues to benefit from economic opportunities created by the cruise sector.

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