Busselton’s 2022/23 cruise season has now drawn to a close, with 11 cruise ships welcomed to the iconic Busselton Foreshore since the season commenced in October 2022. Combined, these ships have carried over 16,000 passengers and 7,000 crew, making it one of the largest seasons delivered in Busselton since cruise commenced in Busselton in 2014/15. Over 11,000 passengers chose to disembark during these visits, with about 30% undertaking shore excursion programs offered, while majority of visitors enjoyed time ashore in Busselton or arranged their own touring independently with many local tour or transport providers.
MRBTA has worked with partners at the City of Busselton, Busselton Jetty and Tourism WA to deliver cruise day operations, with a warm welcome and visitor information provided to passengers disembarking at the Foreshore. MRBTA’s activity has included the management of a team of 29 volunteers, who have completed 144 volunteer shifts to help meet and greet passengers.
When it comes to WA’s ports, Busselton is a jewel in the State’s crown thanks to its beauty as a destination port and the facilities on offer to visitors. The season’s passenger surveys indicate that 96% of passengers intend to return to the destination as a result of their visit, and that 73% of passengers give the destination a rating of 9 or 10/10. Over 55% of passengers surveyed were from interstate, with another 40% being international visitors (US, UK, Canadian & New Zealand). Passengers commented frequently about the beautiful scenery, attractive foreshore and town centre as well as the warm and friendly welcome received by locals. The only passive or detractor comments received related to windy or wet weather (that can delay or lengthen tender transfer times), flies or when shops or facilities weren’t open due to Sunday or public holiday scheduled visits.
Busselton’s success as a cruise destination is set to continue in momentum in future seasons, with 10 arrivals already scheduled for 2023/24 and 11 arrivals scheduled for 2024/25, including maiden visits by new ships and cruise lines.
MRBTA CEO Sharna Kearney said: “It has been wonderful to see business and community get behind welcoming cruise ships back to Busselton. The opportunities for exposure to these travellers extends beyond any single cruise arrival, with the vast majority of passengers indicating that they would return to the destination as a result of their visit.”
City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said “The return of Busselton’s cruise season has surpassed expectations and economic returns to the region continue to be significant. Being included on the itineraries of passenger cruise ships continues to expose the South West region to thousands more travellers from across the country and the world. Anecdotal feedback from businesses and Chambers of Commerce and Industry is that cruise visitors have added significant sales to many town centre and tour destination businesses. While cruise ships are very beneficial to tourism markets across the region, there is also a sense of excitement from residents who have enjoyed seeing these magnificent vessels off our shores again. Bring on the 2023/24 season!”
Tourism Western Australia Managing Director Carolyn Turnbull added “Cruising is an important part of the state’s tourism industry, and it is very exciting to see Busselton and the Margaret River Region thrive as a popular cruise ship destination. I congratulate Busselton’s Mayor, Grant Henley, members of the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, and the wonderful cruise volunteers on delivering another successful cruise ship season, and look forward to watching the region shine again over the upcoming 2023/24 season.”
Cruise lines and shore excursion operators are now actively seeking new regional experiences to add to future cruise itinerary programs for the above future visits and beyond.
For more information on cruise ships at Busselton, see our cruise arrivals webpage.