Portland cruise ship creates tourism ripples

WARRNAMBOOL will snare some of the action from Portland’s first-ever luxury liner visit next month, with hundreds of tourists also expected to descend on Tower Hill and the 12 Apostles. 

Up to seven busloads of visitors will make their way to Warrnambool and the Great Ocean Road after the MS Europa docks in Portland on March 8. 

The German liner is making a 19-day voyage from Auckland to Sydney, via Adelaide. About 400 visitors will disembark when it makes the overnight stopover. 

Flagstaff Hill is seeking to bring some of the tourists to Warrnambool, with hopes the trip could contribute upwards of $100,000 to businesses. 

“We’ve put in a lot of extra work to make sure they come to Warrnambool,” manager Peter Abbott said. 

“We’ve already got a relationship with the tour company and we’ve been chasing them to make sure they drop some dollars into Warrnambool.

“Flagstaff Hill is providing tour guides at this stage for five buses going to the 12 Apostles. 

“We’re also supplying lunch and catering on all the buses.” 

It is hoped more ships will pump millions of dollars into the region. 

Another larger cruise liner carrying up to 2000 people is already expected to berth in Portland at the end of this year or early 2015, Mr Abbott said. 

Worn Gundidj tourism manager Laura Kean-Morris said Tower Hill was expecting about 80 of the cruise passengers to arrive at the volcanic park’s interpretive centre. 

“It’ll be a one-hour guided bush walk with indigenous tour guides basically focusing on wildlife and indigenous history,” Ms Kean-Morris said.

“It’s really exciting. We’re really thankful to Flagstaff Hill.” 

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