THOUSANDS of tourists will sail into Portland next summer, bringing a welcome spending boom for the south-west economy.
Four cruise ships with a total capacity of 6600 passengers will dock during February and March, marking the expansion of a fledgling tourism offshoot launched last summer when German liner MS Europa brought 330 international travellers.
It is hoped more cruise companies will add Portland to their itineraries.
Warrnambool’s tourism services manager Peter Abbott said yesterday an itinerary had been prepared for passengers wanting to visit Tower Hill, Warrnambool and the Twelve Apostles by bus.
Other itineraries will be prepared by Portland district operators for the Grampians and Cape Bridgewater.
Mr Abbott said the P&O Pacific Jewell, which can carry 1800 passengers, would dock three times, plus another ship with 1200 capacity.
“Last time when the Europa visited about 220 of the 330 passengers disembarked,” he said.
“We expect to have many more ground tours this summer.