Cruise control over passenger liners

Glenn CordingleyBroome Advertiser
Cruise Broome chairman Shayne Murray.
Camera IconCruise Broome chairman Shayne Murray. Credit: Glenn Cordingley

A key cruise ship advocate in Broome believes the town may not lose any passenger ship visits – despite a decision by Australia’s largest ocean liner group to turn its back on WA and not use Fremantle as its base.

Over the past two years, the town has embraced the lucrative cruise ship industry with the formation of Cruise Broome through the Broome Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The BCCI sub-committee is represented by local key stakeholders like the Shire of Broome and Kimberley Ports Authority and the Broome Visitor Centre.

The council has acknowledged the importance of the passenger ship visits by agreeing to give the BCCI $50,000 over three years to develop the local industry, along with $25,000 through the Kimberley Development Commission.

Cruise Broome chairman Shayne Murray said he was disappointed about Fremantle but he said cruise ships to the town this year alone were expected to contribute $6.1 million to the local economy.

“At this stage things are a bit unclear as to the ramifications for Broome over the next couple of seasons,” he said.

“The cruise liners will still go to Fremantle, but they will not use it as their home port. There are other players in the industry, which have shown great interest in bringing their vessels to Broome and currently doing their due diligence.”

Mr Murray said he expected small expedition ships to increase their business from Broome to Darwin significantly over the next two seasons because of demand.

Carnival Cruises has told the State Government that P&O superliners will no longer be based in Fremantle because of the conditions and reliability of WA ports.

Among the concerns was ship access to the channel in Broome, which limited time on shore.

BCCI president Peter Taylor said that as a customer of WA and it's ports, Carnival Cruises has decided to give some of their business to competitors in the eastern states and overseas.

“Whether you are a small retailer or the West Australian Government, if you fail to listen and respond positively to customer feedback then you will lose those customers to your competitors,” he said.

“Cruise ships cannot be compelled to service the WA market and no matter how unique we may think Broome is, there are many other ports competing to host these visits.”

He said the decision would be disappointing to many in the local business community who have listened and responded to industry concerns and have worked hard to ensure Broome becomes a port of choice.

“It is now more critical than ever before that all key stakeholders work together cooperatively and contribute to an exceptional shore side experience for passengers,” Mr Taylor said.

Mr Taylor said discussions with Tourism Minister Paul Papalia indicated “the current government was acutely aware of the importance of the Cruise Ship industry to Broome and WA”.

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