Eden's 2019/20 cruise season plans discussed, future of industry questioned

Cruise Lines International Association Australasia managing director Joel Katz answers questions from the audience at the pre-season briefing.
Cruise Lines International Association Australasia managing director Joel Katz answers questions from the audience at the pre-season briefing.

According to industry professionals Eden's coming cruise ship season is looking bright, although the public has questioned the impact of the industry in the region and what its future is.

The 2019/2020 pre-season briefing for cruise ships in Eden was held on Monday, August 12, where a large crowd packed out a room in the Eden Fishermen's Recreation Club.

Cruise Lines International Association Australasia managing director Joel Katz and Port Authority of NSW cruise development manager Natalie Godward spoke about the plans for the new season in Eden and the strength of the cruise industry as a whole.

Ms Godward was excited about the completed Eden Wharf extension, which will allow cruise ships up to 325metres long pull up alongside it.

She said over the coming season 30,000 passengers were expected to visit Eden as well as 22 ships, with the first arriving September 15.

Port Authority of NSW cruise development manager Natalie Godward.

Port Authority of NSW cruise development manager Natalie Godward.

The wharf's set-up will be different this season, she said, with tour and shuttle bus embarkation zones as well as a maritime security zone not open to the public, but there will still be cruise markets.

"We can't have cruise passengers waiting around at the wharf so we put a lot of effort into organising buses," she said.

Ms Godward said "the money is in the bank" for the welcome centre at the wharf, which is funded by the Port Authority of NSW, and she promised it would be completed by September 2020.

Responding to an audience question, she said the centre would be opened year-round when completed.

The audience also asked if cruise ships would ever come year-round or have overnight stays at the Eden port.

But Mr Katz said it could be difficult to bring cruise ships down in winter as "at the end of the day they are a commercial business and driven by the revenue they can generate", while Ms Godward said at this stage the ships would only make day visits as Eden still needed to build its reputation as well as manage its growth responsibly.

"Maybe 10 years down the track we can look at what else we can do," she said.

Another audience member was concerned about the potential negative impact the industry could have on the town, such as damaging the environment.

In response Mr Katz said it was important the community was engaged in the industry, and it was clear this was the case due to the number of people in the meeting.

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