Cruising shore to steam ahead

Headshot of Jakeb Waddell
Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser
An artist’s impression of the $110 million floating wharf at Entrance Point in Broome.
Camera IconAn artist’s impression of the $110 million floating wharf at Entrance Point in Broome. Credit: WGA

Broome’s growing cruise industry looks set to steam ahead, with the announcement of a $110 million floating wharf and recent dredging works enticing the the biggest players across the globe.

The State Government signed off on the privately funded Kimberley Marine Support Base last month, which would see a 180m by 180m facility built alongside the existing Port of Broome, connected to shore by a 15m wide causeway.

The massive project, labelled by the business community as a “game-changer” for the local economy, was given the nod just days after the dredging of the port’s channel, allowing all-tide access at any time for passenger liners.

Cruise Broome chairman Shayne Murray said it had not taken long for the developments to catch the eye of the international cruise community, with a number of companies already flagging the town for its itineraries.

He said Princess Cruises and Cunard Line were among those who had inquired, both of which were interested in docking vessels that carry up to 3500 passengers into town.

“Broome is a bucket list attraction worldwide and accessibility is making it possible for people to tick it off,” he said. “It is clear that people globally are seeing the potential of this $110 million facility before it is even built.”

Off the back of the two projects, Mr Murray was also invited to speak at the Seatrade Cruise Asia Pacific forum in Shanghai last week, with the goal of attracting an increased number of liners to the Kimberley.

More than 1000 international delegates are expected at the meeting, hailed as the continent’s most critical cruise conference.

Mr Murray said it was an opportunity for huge exposure for Broome, as it was one of the world’s most well attended conferences in the industry.

“The current state of the local industry is very good, but still has a long way to go and this will help,” he said.

“The collaboration of key stakeholders in Broome has seen a massive turnaround for cruising in Broome and we are facing one of the most exciting times in its history.”

KMSB director Andrew Natta was not surprised the town was already feeling the benefits of the jetty plan.

“Oil and gas was the starting point when we were looking at the business case of the wharf, but what quickly came from the plans for Broome is that there is not just one primary industry,” he said.

“The KMBS will help to unlock opportunities that have been here all along and we are helping to bring that commercial confidence back to the town.”

Cruise Broome is a voluntary organisation formed three years ago to increase the number of ships in town and create a better visitor experience. The first large passenger vessel in the 2019-20 season is set to arrive tomorrow.

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