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Why Gladstone needs to embrace tourism market

DIVERSIFICATION was a recurring theme at the Future CQ breakfast and Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited CEO Darryl Branthwaite said tourism had a crucial role to play.

Mr Branthwaite said diversification was key because “if one of the big businesses catches a cold and sneezes, everybody stops spending”.

“But if we have this other income stream called tourism then those restaurants and retailers still get covered,” Mr Branthwaite said.

Gladstone will experience an unprecedented arrival of cruise ships later this year, with seven between October 25 and November 27, including two in two days on November 19 and 20.

Cruise visits are expected to increase next year.

“We’ve had 17 or 18 ships turn up over the last three years and this year we’ve got 15,” Mr Branthwaite said.

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“How we interact with cruise ships down the track is going to be interesting once East Shores Stage 1B is finished.

“If we get one per week is everybody going to keep turning up? Will there be paid positions and will we interact with people in a different way?

“You don’t want to burn people out and at the moment we’re using about 30 ambassadors a day scattered through the buses, markets and city, so we need to address that down the track.”

Mr Branthwaite said day trips to Wistari Reef would come to fruition about “the July to August mark”.

“Down the track we’re hoping we’ll get those operating away from the cruise ships on Friday to Sunday.

“That will increase the drive market and then we’ll start marketing that from an airport perspective and for car hire.

“We’ll involve all the experiences and not everyone is going to want to go out from here but it’s an opportunity for us to really pursue, amplify and leverage off.”

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