Financial bonanza cruising to Sunshine Coast
THE cruise ship is full and a financial bonanza is on its way to the Sunshine Coast.
There is just over a week until a P&O Cruises' ship anchors at Mooloolaba for the first time and 1800 passengers board tender boats headed for the Mooloolaba Wharf.
Businesses and tourism bodies are finalising plans to ensure the passengers are given a positive first impression.
The Sunshine Coast is tipped to become the frontrunner in short-term cruising breaks, as P&O Cruises looks to expand its offering.
The food and wine-themed cruise aboard a 64,000-tonne super liner will take four days to travel from Sydney to the Coast, arriving on August 16.
Five more cruises are planned for next year.
Mooloolaba Business and Tourism president Peter Foran firmly believes the cruises are an unprecedented opportunity for the region.
Passengers arriving at the wharf will find a stream of visitor information centre volunteers, market stalls and entertainers, before heading off for tours of the region or wandering around Mooloolaba.
Shore tours include trips to Australia Zoo, swimming with humpback whales, stand-up paddleboarding, hinterland excursions and sailing.
"We are all very excited to give the passengers a taste of what Mooloolaba has to offer," Mr Foran said.
"There will be a whole range of things happening, from fashion parades and wine and cheese tasting to bands, entertainment and restaurants putting on the tastes-of-Mooloolaba menu.
"We are ready."
A P&O Cruises spokesman said the ship was fully booked and some guests were looking forward to "getting dirty" at the Tough Mudder endurance event during their day on the Coast.
Sunshine Coast Destination Limited chief executive Simon Ambrose said the injection of visitors from the key Sydney market was a huge boost for Coast tourism.
"More importantly, once they're exposed to the region for this day, we want as many of the passengers as possible to get a taste for the region and return for their next holiday," he said.
"We need to ensure the passengers have a great experience, poll us as a popular port and then this has enormous potential for even more ship visits in the future."