Retailers told to adjust for cruise visitors

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Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser
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Broome retailers have been told to work cruise-ship visits into their opening hours at a top-level briefing designed to maximise the local benefits of the industry.

Cruise Broome chairman Shayne Murray said feedback from a recent survey revealed the biggest problem the town’s cruise industry faced was traders not opening when passengers were walking around town and ready to shop.

At the cruise-ship update last week, Mr Murray urged vendors to plan ahead by familiarising themselves with the cruise schedule on the Kimberley Ports Authority website, which lists the date and time the ships will dock into town.

Businesses hit back at the claim, saying they were open to accommodate passengers and that the suggestion their doors were closed was “just a myth”.

One attendee said conclusions had been drawn about retailers closing their doors based on “a few corner shops” not being open.

But Mr Murray held firm on his belief.

“Retailers closing early is a culture of this town and it needs to change,” he said. “If people cannot get a cup of coffee at 2pm, then something is drastically wrong.

“We need to be able to facilitate ships in town. Across Australia, organisations can’t wait for cruise ships to come in and they roll out the red carpet. “My advice is that businesses should look at the schedule ahead of time and perhaps close earlier the day before an arrival to make sure they have the resources when the ships arrive. The opportunity is there so grasp it.”

Mr Murray revealed there would be 21 cruise vessel visits next year, with the number continuing to grow.

“A number of ships have expressed interest in visiting Broome if infrastructure is improved to meet demand,” he said. “From October next year, there is at least one ship every month right through 2019.

“The cruise ships are coming and we have to be ready.”

The number of cruise liners stopping in Broome is expected to increase following the international Australian Cruise Association conference in September.

The McGowan Government has allocated $7 million to upgrade the Port of Broome to enable 24-hour access. The 2018 cruise ship schedule is available at www.kimberleyports.wa.gov.au.

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