Gold Coast envies cruise ship visits on Sunshine Coast
WE DON'T want to be the Gold Coast but it seems the Gold Coast wants to be like us.
Our cruise ship liner schedule, which includes 10 liner stopovers in 2016, appears to have sparked the envy of the Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate.
Mr Tate posted the Daily's story about P&O cruise liner Pacific Eden stopping at Mooloolaba last week on his Facebook page, and was greeted by comments encouraging him to forge ahead with his renewed push for cruise ships to stop at the Gold Coast.
"Our economic modelling has cruise ships having an economic impact of around $350,000 to a township. It's a no brainer," Cr Tate told the Daily.
"The difference with the Sunshine Coast is you have quite a protected bay, so you have an opportunity for a lot more boats to come in, give the prevailing weather conditions.
"It's a lot more open here. We'd have to create our own breakwater to facilitate cruise ships."
Cr Tate was last month reported to have dropped his city's bid for a cruise ship terminal in its shallow harbour, the Broadwater, after the Palaszczuk Government canned a proposal for a $7.6 billion terminal there. He told the Daily he is now pushing for a pylon and jetty at the ocean side of The Spit.
Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson welcomed Cr Tate's recognition of our region's success in landing a spot on the cruise ship companies' itineraries.
"It's always nice to be recognised but I don't think there's any competitive advantage in imitation," he said.
"That view from the water off Mooloolaba to the Glasshouse Mountains is a spectacular view that I doubt the Gold Coast could match."
But he said there was room for more cruise ship destinations.
"The reality is there are so many cruise ships, there is room for many more destinations along the Queensland coast," he said.
"But the Sunshine Coast has a lot of natural appeal and there's such a great variety of things for people to do when they come ashore."
Cr Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast Council's economic development team had not pushed for a permanent terminal, as the City of the Gold Coast had, because it worked to have ships drop anchor off the coast at Mooloolaba and use their tenders (life boats) to ferry passengers to shore.
"I think a terminal would be fairly impractical on the Coast," he said. An "enormous jetty" could be an alternative, but he said it would be "an impossible feat of engineering, in my view".
Cr Jamieson said he believed that direct flights now available between the Coast, Sydney and Melbourne would encourage cruise ship visitors to return for a longer stay.
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Ambrose said it was an honour for the Sunshine Coast to be "looked on with envy by the Gold Coast".
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Sunshine Coast, of course.
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"It's a good thing," he said. "We've been doing things very differently to the Gold Coast for a long time and particularly the last two years we've been pushing the fact the Sunshine Coast has a lot to offer, natural attractions."
"The thing that sets us apart is the ease of getting everywhere and our village type of lifestyle," he said. "There's a lot of people living here, they're all distinct little spaces within the grand place of the Sunshine Coast and they add to the vitality and vibrancy of the place."
The tourism industry backed their mayor's vision for cruise ships visitation, Gold Coast Tourism Corporation spokeswoman Michelle Stone said. The city's promotion body was "100% behind Mayor Tate" in his efforts to enable cruise ship access to the Gold Coast and it was a missed opportunity.
Cruise Schedule, Sunshine Coast
10 Jan - Azmara Club Cruises
13 Feb - Amsterdam
19 Mar - Pacific Jewel
11 May - Pacific Jewel
15 June - Pacific Aria
27 June - Pacific Jewel
10 Aug - Pacific Jewel
16 Aug - Carnival Spirit
4 Sept - Pacific Pearl