In a stunning declaration that Queensland tourism is back in business after Cyclone Debbie’s rampage, P&O Cruises’ Pacific Dawn has today become the first cruise ship to return to Airlie Beach.
Proud Queenslander Ann Sherry, Executive Chairman of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, said Pacific Dawn’s return to Airlie Beach, along with two other calls later this month, was a sign that Queensland had bounced back in the most emphatic fashion.
Ms Sherry said it was fitting that the Brisbane-based Pacific Dawn was the first cruise ship to return after Airlie Beach authorities and tourism leaders signalled the gateway to the Whitsundays was again ready to welcome cruise visitors.
“Cyclone Debbie did its best but you can’t knock Queensland down for long and these communities have been quick to get back on their feet,” Ms Sherry said.
“While the return to Airlie Beach will be an emotional moment for the local community and our guests, P&O is pleased to play a role in reviving the visitor economy, which is vital to so many communities in Queensland.”
Ms Sherry said P&O was also backing Queensland Tourism’s #thisisqueensland campaign, encouraging Australians and international visitors to put Queensland back on their holiday radar.
“We are delighted that Pacific Dawn is helping to lead the fight-back in a state that already has the distinction of having more cruise destinations than any other state in Australia.
“Irrespective of their travel choice, Australians need to support the people of northern Queensland by going back there on holiday to pump lifeblood into the tourism sector.”
This month, 6000 P&O guests will arrive at Airlie Beach as a result of Pacific Dawn’s three scheduled calls on April 13, 17 and 27.
P&O is currently awaiting the all-clear for its calls to Hamilton Island to resume, following the damage caused to the resort island by Cyclone Debbie. In the meantime, substitute calls are being made to Townsville and Airlie Beach.
In total, P&O is expected to make more than 30 calls to Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island this year, carrying an estimated 60,000 tourists to the townships.
SOURCE: P&O Cruises