Australian Cruise Association annual conference kicks off on the Sunshine Coast

September 2017

The 21st annual Australian Cruise Association conference and celebrations commenced in Mooloolaba tonight and will run through September 8, 2017.

The program was officially opened at the Welcome Party, held at host hotel Mantra Mooloolaba, by Leanne Coddington, CEO of Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), who spoke about the record number of cruise ships visiting Queensland in 2016-2107 spending 407 ship days in total in port  - up nearly 25% from 329 last year.

Sunshine Coast Deputy Mayor, Cr Tim Dwyer acknowledged the staging of the event on the Sunshine Coast recognising it as one of the emerging regional links for the cruise industry on the eastern seaboard.   “We’re pleased to host the Australian Cruise Association conference in our region, a sign of the continued growth of the cruise market and its importance to the Sunshine Coast tourism industry. We look forward to strengthening our involvement with the industry into the future and hope to be one of the must-visit ports."

Themed “Together Towards Tomorrow,” the Conference program will explore opportunities to take the fast growing cruise industry into the future including destination and infrastructure development, collaboration with the cruise lines and the changing needs of cruise passengers.

Around 110 people, including leading national and international cruise executives and representatives from the supply side of the cruise sector, are attending the conference which is being held at the stunningly located Mooloolaba Surf Club.

The conference sessions, emceed by local television personality, Andrew Lofthouse, will begin with a welcome address from Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Latchford who welcomed the Australian Cruise Association conference to the Sunshine Coast region.

“We understand that regional ports are becoming increasingly critical to the growth of the cruise tourism sector in Australia and are delighted to have won this very important event for the Sunshine Coast. Fittingly cruises have grown by 28.6 percent to our region over the past year and with an average spend of $269 per passenger injected into our tourism industry with each visit this truly reflects the diverse and appealing natural experiences we can make available to guests,” added Mr Latchford.

Steve Odell, Senior VP and MD Asia Pacific for Norwegian Cruise Line, will kick-off the keynote addresses, speaking on the state of the cruise industry globally.  Steve will draw on the extensive experience gained in his current role, and his previous work for Silversea, to make some fascinating observations on where the industry is headed in the next few years.

Chair, Asia Pacific for Ponant Yacht Cruises and Expeditions, Sarina Bratton AM will present Delivering the Expedition Experience.  Sarina’s visionary approach to the cruise business, evidenced as founder of Orion and now special adviser to Ponant as they set an aggressive course for growth in APAC, will no doubt be of high interest to the audience.

Two international speakers have joined the ACA conference line-up in 2017.  Bruce Krumrine, VP of Shore Excursions for Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn and P&O based in the US and Matt Grimes from Viking Cruises responsible for itinerary  development and deployment based in Europe. Both will speak to the importance of destination development, a key platform for the Australian Cruise Association.

Rounding out the keynote presentations will be Tammy Marshall, founder of innovation and change mangement consultancy, The Bhive.  Tammy will be delivering a Demand Study commissioned by ACA which addresses trends and future projections for the industry.

Jill Abel, CEO of Australia Cruise Association said, “We are thrilled with the calibre of speakers at this year’s conference who will undoubtedly deliver some thought provoking insights. In addition to hearing from our guest speakers, we will also be holding a panel discussion to address plans for the future.”

The conference sessions will be supported with a line-up of activities designed to showcase the host venue to attendees.

Pre conference half-day and full-day networking programs included Paddock to Plate experiences and visits to Noosa, Australia Zoo and even sea-kayaking.

The Gala Dinner on Thursday evening, sponsored by Abercrombie & Kent, will take place at highly renowned Thai favourite, Spirit House set in lush tropical gardens in the state’s hinterland.

The Conference will close on Friday following a breakfast presentation by Anna Marsden, Managing Director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation which is dedicated to raising awareness and funding for scientific research essential to the protection and restoration of the Reef. 

The Conference is sponsored by Visit Sunshine Coast, the Sunshine Coast Council and Tourism & Events Queensland.


About Australian Cruise Association:

Australian Cruise Association is the co-operative marketing brand for cruise tourism in the Australia and Pacific region and represents a diversity of interests including regional ports, international, national and state tourism agencies, shipping agents, inbound tour operators and companies dedicated to marketing the region as a world class cruise destination.

Media Contacts:

Jill Collins
Barking Owl Communications
0417 654 474