PORTSIDE businesses have been encouraged to get creative to attract tourists as the Queen Mary 2 steams towards Fremantle for an unexpected early start to her time Down Under.
Cunard’s flagship ocean liner is making a beeline direct from Phuket, Thailand, with rapidly growing travel restrictions related to the spread of the deadly coronavirus blamed for the decision to skip several scheduled stops in Asia.
It means one of the world’s great ocean liners, with its capacity to carry nearly 2700 passengers and 1300 crew, could now call on Fremantle twice in the space of a month.
The Queen Mary 2 is expected to arrive next Tuesday and depart Wednesday night, giving current passengers more than 24 hours to explore – and spend – in Fremantle.
“It was due to visit Fremantle on March 14 so having it visit twice in a month will be a welcome boost to the Fremantle economy and a great opportunity for people to come down to the port and see this majestic ocean liner,” a Fremantle Ports spokesman said.
“People also get the chance to explore Victoria Quay that’s bursting with new discoveries and hidden gems and something for everyone to enjoy.”
Cunard described the coronavirus risk on board as low but said the Queen Mary 2 would be disinfected and passengers and crew screened prior to boarding in Fremantle.
Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive Danicia Quinlan implored local businesses to double down on the visits.
“It’s a positive outcome for the ship to be diverted here and then for it to come back on March 14 but businesses need to make the most of it,” she said.
“We need to make sure that the tourists have an incredible experience.”
She hoped an influx of tourism money would go some way to offsetting the impact coronavirus has had on local seafood exporters.