Fremantle port is the heart and soul of Western Australia’s maritime industry, hosting everything from luxury cruise vessels and private yachts to oil tankers and cargo ships. The latest statistics have revealed that during the 2014-15 cruise season a record number of passengers passed through the Fremantle Passenger Terminal, bound for the charming streets of the historical port city, as well as the Perth CBD, iconic Cottesloe Beach and beyond.
Record breaking passenger figures
In total over 100,000 passengers stepped foot on Freo shores, a figure that represents the highest influx in more than 40 years. In fact, the 1972-73 cruise season was the last time that visitor numbers topped the 100,000 mark. Considering the fact that in the 2006-07 season just 9498 people disembarked at Fremantle, the figure is a fantastic achievement for Western Australia’s cruise tourism industry.
And according to trade development manager Thor Elliott, official numbers are still on the rise. Before the end of the financial year Fremantle will welcome two more ships, which means the final count will sit at around 117,000 passengers hailing from 43 different ship visits. The future is looking just as bright, with Elliot maintaining that “With 56 ship visits scheduled for next year, the figures can only improve.”
For Western Australia the booming cruise industry represents a lucrative opportunity to grow and expand. Stephanie Buckland, Tourism WA chief executive asserts that the sector contributes over $116 million to the state’s economy. This is largely thanks to WA’s warm Mediterranean climate that fosters year-round cruising, even in the midst of winter.
Aussies love to cruise!
As a nation, Australia is demonstrating an insatiable love for cruising, with the latest Cruise Weekly figures indicating that over one million people set sail last year. According to Cruise Lines International Association Australasia chairman Gavin Smith, this level of growth is matched only by France. “The expansion of our industry in recent years means there’s now a huge range of ships and itineraries on offer across the globe and I think Australians, who are inveterate travellers, are responding by increasingly factoring a cruise into their holiday plans,” he explains. “Five years ago, the industry thought that it might be possible to achieve one million passengers a year by 2020 – to reach that number in 2014 is an amazing result and shows the true passion Australians have for cruise holidays.”
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons and Wikimedia Commons. Credits: Nikita Kashner and Gnangarra.