Pacific Pearl visit a gem for local business
  • Tuesday 21 July 2015

As Pacific Pearl passengers soaked up the sights, sounds and flavours of the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, local businesses were also counting their blessings.

The P&O super liner’s day-long stopover off Mooloolaba brought 1700 visitors ashore and a wave of business that was warmly welcomed by Coast retailers and tourist operators.

“My two Mooloolaba retail stores had a combined increase in sales of 120% compared to the same Saturday last year, with 86% of that increase coming directly from the cruise ship passengers,” Managing Director of Sundaze Swimwear Fraser Green said.

“From what I saw, most traders would have had a similar or better result than mine. As a retailer in Mooloolaba, I would like to thank Council for the effort and support in facilitating the Mooloolaba cruise visit,” Mr Green said.

From the moment passengers arrived on shore, they were handed information and directions to local hot spots as well as discounts and specials.

Mooloolaba Jet Boat owner Jerry Van Driel-Vis said many visitors were eager to return to sea for a white-knuckle experience.

“We normally run two boat trips a day but on Saturday we had three full boats and were almost looking at a fourth, so it was a fantastic day for business,” he said.

“From our business’s perspective, we’re confident we can do even better with future cruise ship visits.

“Many of our passengers commented that they’d never heard of Mooloolaba and much of the Sunshine Coast before coming here on Saturday, so this was a great way for the Coast to establish itself and make a real impression as a holiday destination.”

Underwater World Marketing Manager Kristina Neal said the Pacific Pearl's presence provided a significant bookings boost.

“We received a really solid number of pre-bookings from aboard the cruise ship as well as passengers who came through on the day,” she said.

“Coming off the busy mid-year school holiday period, Saturday was another terrific boost for business.”

Mayor Mark Jamieson said early feedback from visitors and P&O directors about their Sunshine Coast experience had been glowing.

“Saturday was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the Sunshine Coast’s wonderful assets and I think everyone did a terrific job of that,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The response we’ve received from directors and staff aboard the Pacific Pearl as well as passengers has been wonderful and we’re very hopeful that this will encourage more cruise ships to make stopovers here over the coming months.”

“Council worked very closely with P&O, Sunshine Coast Destination Limited and local business and tourism organisations to coordinate this opportunity and we’ll continue to provide active support to ensure we’re an attractive stopover destination on the cruise ship itinerary.”

The Pacific Pearl is due to return to the Sunshine Coast on August 21. Two more cruise ship visits are scheduled for 2015 and up to 12 more are likely to make similar visits in 2016.

Pacific Pearl visit, business boost fast facts:

  • Around 1,700 passengers were ferried ashore, providing an estimated $250,000 boost to the local economy (approximate spend per passenger - $147)
  • Four x 57-seat busloads of passengers travelled to the Eumundi Markets and Buderim Ginger Factory
  • Two busloads of passengers visited Australia Zoo
  • 30 bookings aboard Whale One.
  • Pacific Pearl is scheduled to return on Friday August 21