Tourism boost for retailers

Headshot of Gavin Box
Gavin BoxGeraldton Guardian
Retailers enjoyed a boost when luxury cruise ship Silver Whisper docked in Geraldton recently.
Camera IconRetailers enjoyed a boost when luxury cruise ship Silver Whisper docked in Geraldton recently.

Geraldton businesses have enjoyed a high tide of tourism spending with cruise ship visits, the West Coast Eagles community camp and AFL Western Derby.

Mid West Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Glen Whistler-Carr said many business did “very well” with the football.

“It was an outstanding success. Cafes, hotels and retailers did very well,” he said.

“The City of Greater Geraldton deserve to feel proud for the event they were able to bring to town.

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“Having the Eagles here a few days before the game was a major advantage for businesses.

“The players were out and about, having coffee, being seen at retail outlets. It encouraged other people to come to town.”

The Eagles community camp coincided with the visit of the giant cruise ship Radiance of the Seas, which kept businesses busy.

About 2500 passengers disembarked in Geraldton when the 293m-long ship — the biggest to berth at the port — arrived on Friday.

Hydraulic dampening units, which compensate for ocean surge, enabled the ship to berth in port instead of using tenders, making it more convenient for passengers to get ashore.

A week earlier, three retailers reported their best spend from cruise ship visits when the luxury ship Silver Whisper berthed in Geraldton.

“One woman spent more than $1500 at a clothing store in Marine Terrace,” Mr Whistler-Carr said.

According to the Silver Whisper website, the ship has more space per passenger than any other cruise ship.

It also has a higher than average ratio of crew to passengers — with maximum 302 crew and 382 passengers.

Mr Whistler-Carr said the Mid West Ports Authority had invested $2 million in hydraulic dampening units solely to accommodate cruise ships, for the community’s benefit. He said Co-operative Bulk Handling had also made a sacrifice in its busiest grain-loading season by making a berth available for cruise ship visitors.

The City hopes to convince the AFL to hold a pre-season Western Derby in Geraldton in 2018 and 2019.

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