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WA tourism breathes sigh of relief as cruise comeback nears

Western Australia’s ban on cruise will finally end on October 1 and plenty of ships are already scheduled to roll through their shores.

Southern Ports, who run the ports of Bunbury, Albany and Esperance have bookings starting from October 30.

Southern Ports chief executive Steve Lewis told ABC News that October 30 will signify a much awaited and much needed return.

October 30 we’ve got our first vessel booked in … and we’ve got 12 cruise ships booked in for the season between October and March.

“I think everyone’s pretty excited about seeing white-line vessels back in the port.”

Mr Lewis said Albany in particular will get a big boost from the foot traffic returning to the town.

“I’m sure the community in Albany will be pleased to see that trade coming back into the town.

“It’s an economic driver for the town, and the people visiting Albany by cruise either tell other people about their trip to Albany … or actually go to the effort of making a visit to Albany again at some point and hopefully deciding one day to come and live here.”

Nature’s Window, Kalbarri National Park

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington told ABC News a similar tale.

“I think it’s something to look forward, it’s getting back to where we were before and part and parcel of what we do.

“We’re a tourist town and we’ve got to expect people want to come here and however they get here it’s a bonus for us.”

Mr Wellington said of particular significance is the chance for cruisers to fall in love with the region and return year after year.

‘When people come here by ship they’re only here for about half a day, but they have a look around and think, ‘Well this is a good place to come back to’ and they come back for a second year.

“That’s the best part about it … the advertising we get for people to come down here.”