Cruise ships are returning to Queensland in the wake of Cyclone Debbie. The storm, which has destroyed much of the region, has left thousands without homes.

Carnival Australia Executive Chairman Ann Sherry said that the company would be sending ships back to Queensland to help encourage tourism to boost the economy.

P&O’s Pacific Dawn will be the first cruise ship to call at Airlie Beach since the cyclone hit the Whitsundays town on Thursday. And she will be the first of three P&O calls to the Whitsunday coast this month.

There will be a total of 34 ships across Carnival Australia’s cruise brands, that will be visiting Queensland this year.

Ms Sherry visit the cyclone affected areas of Queensland with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, State Tourism Minister Kate Jones as well as Federal Minister for Trade Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo.

She has also pledged $10,000 from the P&O Pacific Partnership would be devoted to the cyclone relief and be presented to civic leaders at Airlie Beach on Thursday.

“As a proud Queenslander, I am delighted that our cruise lines such as P&O Cruises can play a part in Queensland’s economic recovery following Cyclone Debbie. Coastal areas are heavily dependent on tourism for jobs and the visitor economy generally so the communities need visitors to return to help them rebuild.

“The sight of cruise ships returning to cyclone affected destinations in a signal to people around Australia and internationally that tourism is bouncing back and that they should consider holidaying in Queensland.

“We know it is going to be an emotional moment on Thursday when Pacific Dawn arrives at Airlie Beach for the first time since Cyclone Debbie and the first passengers start coming ashore from the ship’s tender vessels.”