Eden has enjoyed its biggest cruise season ever, with 12 ships from five cruise lines delivering more than 12,500 passengers into the port between November 2016 and April 2017.
Sapphire Coast Tourism industry coordinator and cruise manager Natalie Godward said the season generated an estimated $4.5m in direct spending and $1.5m in return visits for the local economy.
“Eden has always benefited from high disembarkation rates due to the proximity of the tendered cruise ship to the wharf and the beauty of the bay as passengers sail in,” Ms Godward said.
“This season we realised a 91 per cent disembarkation rate which is exceptionally high for a tender port.”
The majority of passengers explored Eden independently; 23 per cent booked organised tours. National parks and the region’s history and heritage proved popular, as did kayaking and oyster tours.
Along with four maiden voyages to the port, the 2016-17 cruise season notched up some significant milestones with two ships choosing Eden as their first Australian port of call.
The Eden Customs and Border Protection team boarded the ships in New Zealand and cleared customs for all passengers en route to Eden.
“Having the ability to clear customs for ships entering Australia via Eden allows cruise lines more flexibility when dealing with the challenges of booking into busier city ports,” Ms Godward said. “We hope to see more of it into the coming seasons.”
Ms Godward said the economic benefit of cruise visitation continued to grow with more than $6m delivered to the local economy in the 2016-17 cruise season through port fees, passenger and crew expenditure and estimates for the knock‐on effect of return visitation.
She said the 2017-18 cruise season currently has 15 cruise ships booked in, including four maiden voyages.
Meet and Greet volunteers from the community and students from high schools across the Bega Valley, provided a fantastic welcome for passengers coming ashore, giving the Port of Eden a great name.