Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) says there is an urgent need for “immediate action” to provide commercial cruise ship berthing in Sydney Harbour.
In light of recent findings produced by The Hawke Report that there is no scope to enhance cruise ship access on Garden Island due to naval capability requirements, TAA NSW director Carol Giuseppi said that the cruise market is generating millions for the national economy and is not being invested in properly.
According to the report, permission to berth on Garden Island was “incompatible… over the long-term, except on the existing basis, where a limited number of requests for berth bookings is considered by Navy based on extended notice and limited visits per year.”
The review stated that over the short-medium term, there was the possibility of a ‘dolphin’ berth (mooring posts) at the Overseas Passenger Terminal.
The study also recommended that current procedures for “berth access at Fleet Base East/Garden Island should be refined and formalised” and “that Defence’s long-term national security task should not be surrendered to the seasonal commercial requirements of the cruise ship industry.”
“Sydney is the magnet for an increasing number of cruise ships – it is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry, growing at more than 20% each year for six years,” Ms Giuseppi said.
“The simple fact is if ships can’t berth here they are far less likely to visit Australian waters – that’s why we are calling for action now on a permanent solution to this problem.”
Carnival Australia chief executive Ann Sherry concurred, registering her disappointment in the outcome of the Hawke Report, explaining that a long term solution was ‘vital’ for tourism and the economy.
“The report’s option of a new mooring off Mosman isn’t a solution and is no better than the current situation where international travellers’ first experience of Sydney is a ride to shore in a lifeboat,” she said.
The report of the Garden Island Review will be considered by Government in the context of the final report of the Force Posture Review; also to be conducted by Dr. Allan Hawke along with Mr Ric Smith, both former Secretaries of the Department of Defence.
How do you think these findings and subsequent actions or lack thereof will affect Australia’s tourism, economy and cruise ship industry? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T