Visitation to South West boosted amid virus outbreak

We're talking about millions of dollars of passenger spends at wineries, local shops, restaurants, cafes and tourist hot-spots.

City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley.

The City of Busselton is set to receive a surge in the number of cruise ships visiting the region as cruise liners reroute in the wake of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The respiratory illness, which is believed to have originated from the city of Wuhan in mainland China, has claimed more than 2,200 lives since it was first reported in December, 2019.

The outbreak has led to the re-routing of several cruise liners that were previously scheduled to visit a number of destinations in Asia, resulting in 11 additional cruise ship bookings for Busselton over the next financial year - including several visits from two of the largest ships on the cruising circuit.

City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley said that the outcome was an obvious windfall for the City of Busselton, with the economic return for the region set to be significant.

"We're talking about millions of dollars of passenger spends at wineries, local shops, restaurants, cafes and tourist hot-spots," he said.

"Being included on the itineraries of these additional cruise ships also exposes the South West region to thousands more travellers from across the country and the world.

"With regular passenger flights into Busselton set to commence next month, this can only be a good thing."

Tourism WA managing director Brodie Carr said the changes were welcome news given the difficult start to the year after the coronavirus and the east coast bushfires.

"In what has been an incredibly tough start to 2020, it's wonderful to be able share some good news for the tourism industry," he said.

"Tourism WA has worked to heavily promote our port destinations to international cruise lines so they are very familiar with what WA can offer their passengers."

Busselton Visitor Centre site manager Karen Harrison said the team were now looking to recruit additional volunteers to meet, greet, welcome, surve and inform cruise ship passengers as they arrive at Busselton Foreshore.

To volunteer to greet passengers, contact Mrs Harrison on karen.harrison@margaretriver.com