Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cruising to boost tourism to Christmas Island

Christmas Island will see its first ever visit from a cruise ship in December following the Federal Government’s decision to invest $3.5 million on improving its mooring facilities.

The first ship to visit the island will be P&O Cruises’ Pacific Sun, which is owned and operated by Carnival Australia on December 23.

It will be the first four visits by the ship between December this year and February 2011, with an estimated 7600 passengers in tow.

“This is a significant step for Christmas Island because it creates an opportunity for the island to develop its tourism industry and deliver economic benefit for its community” said Carnival chief executive Ann Sherry.

“Christmas Island’s unique wildlife, including the annual migration of the red crabs, and natural features makes it an appealing holiday destination for Australians.

She added that Carnival Australia had received positive reception from the Christmas Island community, who are keen to see tourism develop in a way that meets their expectations and protects the island’s natural features.

The cruising industry has grown and average of 18 per cent a year for the past six years and is expected to contribute about $1 billion to the Australian economy this year alone.

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