The NSW government’s intention to upgrade Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal is a boost for the billion dollar cruise ship industry, according to peak national industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).
TTF Deputy Chief Executive Trent Zimmerman said that with this upgrade the missing link is now increased access to Garden Island so the potential of the sector isn’t stymied.
NSW Roads and Ports Minister Duncan Gay today revealed plans to upgrade Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) and extend the wharf towards Campbell’s Cove, representing a $49-million investment in Sydney’s cruise infrastructure.
“While this upgrade will allow bigger ships to use the OPT and improve passenger facilities at the terminal, it will not address the looming shortage of berth space in Sydney,” said Mr Zimmerman.
“Nearly 1 million cruise passengers are expected to visit Sydney each year by 2020 and the city needs more berthing facilities to take advantage of this growth.
“The OPT is currently the only accessible terminal for large cruise ships. In the next three years a third of all cruise ships visiting Sydney will be unable to fit under the Harbour Bridge to access the White Bay Cruise Terminal.
“Shared access with the Navy at Garden Island, in the peak of the summer cruise season, is the obvious long term solution so that Sydney and Australia more broadly, can fully benefit from the growing number of cruise ships wanting to travel to Sydney.
“Garden Island’s location and existing facilities make it the preferred choice of both the cruise ship industry and the NSW government.
“TTF is calling on the federal government to join with the industry and the NSW government to increase and regularise cruise ship access to Garden Island.
“Cruising is fastest growing sector of Australian tourism. Passenger numbers grew a record 34 per cent in 2011 and 11 per cent in 2012.
“While the federal government has extended the interim arrangement, that allows three ships to berth at Garden Island each cruise season, a long term solution is urgently required so Sydney can take down the “no vacancy” sign and welcome increased visits by cruise ships that bring billions of dollars to the Australian economy each year.”