The 2013-14 Southern Tasmanian cruise season began this morning when Sea Princess moored just offshore from the Port Arthur Historic Site, carrying 1,900 passengers and 900 crew on a cruise around Tasmania from Sydney.
After voyaging past the sea cliffs of the Tasman Peninsula coastline, passengers were tendered ashore to experience the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Site and learn about Australia’s convict heritage. While at Port Arthur, they were offered unique locally made crafts and produce, including jewellery hand-crafted by local artist Sally Ferrar using ashes collected from the January 2013 bushfires.
Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) Director of Tourism Anne McVilly says that some passengers undertook tours in the local region.
“We have fantastic and unique experiences all around Port Arthur, including award winning eco cruises, the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park, a chocolate factory and whiskey distillery as well as the World Heritage-listed Coal Mines Historic Site.”
“A select few have explored areas of the Port Arthur Site not normally open to visitors on special behind-the-scenes tours with our archaeologists. “
The ship departed for Hobart in the late afternoon, giving passengers the opportunity to undertake further tours and activities in southern Tasmania tomorrow, and providing an increased economic boost to the region.
“PAHSMA has been working strategically for many years to attract more cruise ship visits to its deep water harbour,” said Ms McVilly.
“We are really starting to see that effort bear fruit this season, with nine visits scheduled between now and next April. We anticipate even more visits in future seasons following the upgrading of our jetty facility in the first quarter of 2014.”
An economic impact study commissioned by Cruise Downunder reveals that each passenger visiting a Tasmanian port spends on average around $113.00 per day, which added up to a total expenditure of $8.9 million in 2012-13.
“With more port visits expected this year, this figure will grow, and doesn’t include expenditure by the crew or on provisioning the ships.”
“Every vessel that visits Port Arthur is adding a day to its Tasmanian itinerary, so the economic benefits are cumulative and spread around the region.”
Tasmania is set for record cruise season with 64 port visits in total. Burnie is expecting 12, Hobart 36, Devonport one, and Coles Bay and Wine Glass Bay three each, in addition to the nine expected at Port Arthur.