Riding the current of cruise ship visitation to Kangaroo Island

The cruise ship Golden Princess arrives at Penneshaw on Australia Day 2019. Photo: KI Ocean Safari
The cruise ship Golden Princess arrives at Penneshaw on Australia Day 2019. Photo: KI Ocean Safari

Cruise ships have been visiting Kangaroo Island for the last 15 years reaching a peak of 28 vessels visiting in the 2018/19 season.

With a projected growth of 20 per cent, KI can expect more ships to visit Penneshaw in coming years, according to the newly formed Tourism Food Wine and Beverage Association.

What will this mean for Kangaroo Island, its businesses, community, natural environment and visitor experience?

Tourism Kangaroo Island have partnered with the Kangaroo Island Council and the office of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island in seeking to better understand the impacts of cruise ship visitation on Kangaroo Island.

The project was planned several months ago and is now in implementation phase.

Local consultant, Jeanette Gellard from Innovative Influences, has been engaged to collect local community, industry and key stakeholders' feedback on their cruise season experiences and lessons learned.

Chairman of the newly formed Tourism Food Wine and Beverage Association, Pierre Gregor said that there was considerable rhetoric and some misinformation generated around cruise ship visitation.

This together with forecast growth in visitation supported the timeliness of this study.

"The aim of this project is to collect local tourism operator, business, agency and community feedback regarding the impacts, both positive and negative, of cruise ship visitation on these sectors," Mr Gregor said.

"This will be pursued from an economic, experiential, social and environmental perspective."

The SA Tourism Commission had advised a projected growth for KI visitation of about 20 per cent and this was calculated as being in the order of 43 vessels for 2020/21 season, Mr Gregor said.

But the "projected growth" hadn't been quite realised, with the current scheduled visits currently sitting at 35 over that two year time period, he said, although there could be more visits added.

According to Flinders Ports, there were 25 arrivals for October 2019 to April 2020, 35 arrivals November 2020 to March 2021 and 11 arrivals November 2021 to March 2022.

Residents will be able to share their experiences and have their say at two community forums being held in July and through an online survey which can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KICRUISE

The community forums are Tuesday, July 16 from 7.30pm to 9pm at the CWA Hall at Penneshaw and then Tuesday, July 23 from 7.30pm to 8.30pm at the Kingscote Football Club.

Local businesses and key stakeholders will also have the opportunity to participate in two industry forums being held on Tuesday, July 16 from 4.30pm to 7pm at the CWA Hall at Penneshaw and then Thursday, July 18 from 7pm to 9pm at the Kingscote Football Club.

"The information collected will assist the Kangaroo Island Tourism Food Wine and Beverage Association and Council to articulate the regions experiences with cruise ship visitation and provide the basis for informed decision making when advocating on behalf of the region for the future management of sustainable cruise ship visitation growth," Mr Gregor said

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