The annual Australian Cruise Association Conference was held in Townsville this week, with members relishing in the first chance to catch up with each other since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Running across three days at The Ville Resort-Casino, attendees enjoyed a full day of keynote presentations, delivered by speakers such as Cruise Lines International Association’s Joel Katz, Tourism Australia’s Phillipa Harrison, Carnival Corporation’s Marguerite Fitzgerald, Princes Cruises’ Stuart Allison, and Australian Cruise Association’s Jill Abel.
Themed “Charting the Future”, topics discussed included the brand-new world of tourism, the cruise industry’s great restart, technology, and the state of the sector.
However no such congress would be complete without a party or two; the Conference’s first night saw attendees greeted in Townsville on with welcome drinks at Quayside Terminal, where cruise passengers disembark their ship for their first taste of the FNQ city.
On Thursday night, the Conference’s crescendo saw guests head to the mountains north of Townsville, and descend on Hervey Range Rodeo Grounds, for a display of some of the best competitive equestrian this side of Mount Isa! The night then came to a close with a feast fit for an entire ranch, and some boot-scooting to a few cowboy classics.
Abel said although total normality had yet to arrive, the Townsville Conference – delayed for two years – was an enormous landmark for what the industry has achieved during the most challenging period in its history.
“The fact that we’re back together having conversations is key to the success of this season,” she told travelBulletin.
“For two-and-a-half years it’s been pretty devastating…we’ve talked about that, and we’ve tried to focus on what it took, and have a really positive tone toward that.”
Next year, the Australian Cruise Association will head to another rural port – this time Wollongong – for its long-awaited 25th annual Conference.