On Monday 30 October, Port Arthur Historic Site will welcome 2,600 passengers from the Golden Princess as the first cruise ship to anchor in the bay for the 2017-18 season. The Golden Princess made its inaugural visit the World Heritage Site on 5 January 2016 and will be coming back another three times this season.
“We are extremely fortunate to have a record 29 cruise ships anchoring at Port Arthur this coming season with over 50,000 passengers and crew expected to enjoy the historic site and amazing experiences of the Tasman Peninsula.” said Anne McVilly, Director of Tourism Operations at Port Arthur Historic Site.
Anne, who is also on the management committee of the Australian Cruise Association, attended the Seatrade Global Trade Show and convention earlier this year in Fort Lauderdale Florida where she reported cruise lines have a high awareness of and interest to bring ships to Australia and around Tasmania. The most popular reason why passengers choose a particular cruise is based on the itinerary and the destinations visited. Tasmania has experienced significant growth in the cruise sector in recent years and will have 125 port calls in 2017-18.
With a naturally deep anchorage, spectacular coastal scenery and world class attractions and experiences in the region, the World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site has always been a popular destination for cruise ship passengers arriving into Tasmania. Increasing cruise ship arrivals into Port Arthur has also had a positive impact on tourism businesses around the Tasman Peninsula including the local lavender farm, distillery, chocolate factory and wildlife park.
This remarkable growth in cruise ship arrivals was one of the deciding factors in the redevelopment of the Port Arthur Visitor Centre. Construction has been progressing in stages since January. The new visitor centre, when it opens on 18 December, will provide an enhanced visitor experience including an expanded café with extensive outdoor dining, a new separate restaurant with views over the Historic Site, and retail space showcasing artisan products from the Tasman region. There will be a new gallery and exhibition space within the Visitor Centre that will capture the imagination with new character stories and never before seen collection items.
Stephen Large Chief Executive Officer of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) said:
“The redevelopment of the Port Arthur Visitor Centre is proceeding on schedule and we’re very pleased to have been able to continue to offer visitors the full experiences of the historic site throughout the project. Along with a range of traditional events, theatrical performances and family-friendly activities we offer over the summer period, this new Visitor Centre will provide yet another reason for Tasmanians to come back to Port Arthur this year.”