SUNSHINE Coast businesses enjoyed a welcome winter bonus yesterday as P&O cruise ship the Pacific Jewel dropped anchor off Mooloolaba.
More than 1800 guests aboard the ship were ferried to shore and spent the day sampling retail shops, cafes, restaurants and tourist attractions right across the region.
Mooloolaba Jet Boat Owner Gerry Van Driel-Vis said bookings were busy as a result of the visit.
"We had an absolutely awesome response from passengers aboard the Pacific Jewel, with two fully booked boats and a third run for the day which is as many as we do," Mr Van Driel-Vis said.
"We're always popular with passengers aboard the Pacific Jewel and our guests had another great time with us yesterday.
"The Sunshine Coast isn't normally known as an 'adrenaline' destination so having guests come to us from outside the region and interstate to experience Mooloolaba Jet Boat is really helping us to boost the market for this sort of thing which is terrific."
SEA LIFE Mooloolaba's General Manager Quinn Clarke said each cruise ship arrival created significant waves of additional business.
"We have had many pre-bookings during previous cruise ship stopovers and on Monday we were once again extremely popular with passengers who came ashore from the Pacific Jewel," Mr Clarke said.
"These cruise ship visits are fantastic for business and it certainly creating additional business for us on top of the already productive school holiday period."
Mayor Mark Jamieson once again greeted passengers as they came ashore at the Wharf Mooloolaba on Monday morning and said each cruise ship visit was worth an estimated $250,000 to the local economy.
"It was wonderful to welcome cruise ship guests and crew to the Sunshine Coast and this is the third time we've been lucky enough to have the Pacific Jewel visit us," Mayor Jamieson said.
"Once again I was so impressed by the outstanding hospitality of our business and tourism operators, volunteers and students from TAFE who helped usher guests to the various shuttle busses and visitor information centres.
"This was the first of 17 cruise ship visits that are scheduled for the Sunshine coast between now and the end of next year and that equates to a potential $4.25 million economic injection for local businesses over that period.
"Council has worked hard with Visit Sunshine Coast to encourage and support the arrival of cruise ships to our region. The Australian cruise market has grown significantly over the past decade so it's a real positive for the Sunshine Coast to be able to tap into this rapidly expanding tourism market."
The Pacific Jewel will return to the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday August 10.
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