Bad weather causes 2800-person cruise to miss Busselton

Sophie ElliottBusselton Dunsborough Times
Busselton Jetty is pretty in the sun.
Camera IconBusselton Jetty is pretty in the sun. Credit: WA News

Bad weather off the coast has cost local retailers and tourism providers after a cruise visit was cancelled last Friday.

The Sun Princess was prevented from leaving Albany Port because of rough conditions, resulting in its Busselton stopover being called off.

More than 2800 passengers and crew were on board the ship which, along with Saturday’s Vasco Da Gama visit, was expected to bring a $250,000 boost to the Capes economy.

City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said it was unfortunate for local retailers but weather was something out of anyone’s control.

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The safety and comfort of passengers and crew will always be given priority and the weather is one thing that we can’t control.

Grant Henley

In good news for the South West, 738 of the 935 passengers on board Vasco Da Gama disembarked to explore the region, either by participating in booked tours or staying in the CBD.

It is estimated each cruise passenger spends about $100 locally when they come ashore, which Mr Henley said was a good injection of revenue into the Busselton-Margaret River economy.

“It’s a significant investment,” he said.

“In the 2018/2019 season, 10,000 passengers visited the region on cruise ship stopovers, returning close to $1 million to the local economy.”

Mr Henley said the City was now a very well-established cruising destination and expected many cruise visitors would return to further explore the region.

He revealed new inquiries were frequently made by cruise operators.

Seventeen cruise ships are scheduled for the 2020/21 season and 14 are already confirmed for 2021/22. “We’re proving excellent experiences for visitors and receiving positive feedback from cruise lines,” Mr Henley said.

Given the success and the popularity of the destination, we do not envisage any drop in booking in the foreseeable future.

Grant Henley

According to State Government statistics, cruise shipping in 2018/19 contributed $229 million to the WA economy and supported about 848 jobs.

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