Cruise ship will boost SA tourism

By: Chris Smith

A new tourism venture, tapping into the profitable cruise market, will see a major passenger ship based at Outer Harbor

A new tourism venture, tapping into the profitable cruise market, will see a major passenger ship based at Outer Harbor South Australia, for the first time early next year.

The MV Funchal – a 550-passenger cruise ship owned by Classic International Cruises (CIC) - will take to South Australian waters in 2009 and will not only open up regional destinations, but also entice a new breed of visitors to the State.

Tourism Minister Dr Jane Lomax-Smith says securing the MV Funchal is a coup for South Australia and has the potential to increase visitors to the State.

"Cruise ships contribute a great deal to the tourism industry in South Australia and having a major passenger ship based here will provide ongoing benefits," she says.

"In 2005/2006, it was estimated that the cruise ship season contributed somewhere between $950,000 and $2.5 million to the economy. This includes dollars spent by visitors on shopping, food/drink, transport, tours and attractions.

"Almost 11,000 passengers and 6,500 crew visited South Australia in that cruise year, which saw 11 ships visiting our shores.

"The decision by CIC to base the MV Funchal here during next year’s cruise season will undoubtedly contribute to tourism expenditure and have a positive economic impact on both Adelaide and key regions.

"It will also offer international, interstate and South Australian visitors their first opportunity to experience our stunning coast on a cruise ship."

The MV Funchal will spend several weeks a year based at Outer Harbor from late January 2009, and will begin its first Adelaide season sailing from Fremantle to Outer Harbor, via Albany and Esperance, before embarking on cruises through South Australian regional waters, taking in Kangaroo Island, Gulf St Vincent, Spencer Gulf and Port Lincoln.

"This is an example of how we are encouraging new tourism operators to invest in the State. Cruise ships have a huge following around the world, and it is a market that South Australia can take advantage of, and one that can have long-term flow-on effects for the State."

The first MV Funchal cruises in South Australia are scheduled to commence from late January 2009.

Adelaide-based tourism operator, Proud Australia, will market and sell the cruise holiday packages, along with additional side tours to key South Australian tourism destinations such as the Flinders Ranges, the Murray River, wine regions and the outback.

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