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Australian Cruise AssociationAs the global cruising industry gains speed after weathering the storm of a pandemic, Wollongong, New South Wales, is preparing to play host to the landmark 25th Australian Cruise Association Conference (ACA) and AGM. This highly anticipated event is set to take place from 30 August through 1 September 2023, welcoming industry professionals eager to discuss the industry’s vibrant future.

This year’s conference, aptly titled “Full Steam Ahead,” reflects the industry’s positive resurgence domestically and internationally. Jill Abel, the CEO of the Australian Cruise Association, emphasized the event as a golden chance for the industry to unite, gear up, and leverage potential opportunities.

“We are really looking forward to the industry coming together at our conference, ready to capitalize on the optimistic future of cruising both at home and abroad,” Abel commented.

The conference will feature an impressive line-up of speakers, including Stefano Borzone from Global Port Operations and Development of Princess Cruises and Dr Natasha Montesalvo, the Principal Consultant Destinations, Strategy, and Insight at EarthCheck. Montesalvo is expected to delve into creating sustainable and resilient visitor economies. Mick Fogg, Director of Expeditions and Destination Development for Ponant Expeditions in Asia Pacific, is another renowned speaker sharing his insights.

Adding to the exciting roster, Sandra Lau of Viva Energy will discuss the future of alternative fuels in Australia, considering her extensive knowledge in the hydrogen fuel industry. The speaker program includes industry leaders Phillipa Harrison from Tourism Australia and Adele Labine-Romain from Deloitte Access Economics, who will address attendees at the Novotel Wollongong Northbeach.

Moreover, a pre-cruise program is slated for 30 August, giving attendees an immersive exploration of the region, including a tour of Port Kembla, the Illawarra Regional Airport, the captivating Blue Mile, and an Indigenous Stand-Up Paddle Board Tour guided by local Dharawal woman, Jodi Edwards.

Highlighting the significance of New South Wales as a vital hub for cruise itineraries throughout Australia, Abel stated, “Wollongong, being just over an hour from Sydney, is a crucial regional cruise center for the state, offering diverse experiences for cruise passengers.”

The Port Authority of NSW reported that approximately one million passengers passed through Sydney cruise terminals in the 2022-23 financial year, suggesting that visitation rates in NSW are rebounding to pre-pandemic levels faster than projected.

The conference will culminate with an invigorating breakfast, followed by the AGM and member workshops on the final day. Around 120 delegates are expected to grace the event, supported by Visit Wollongong, Wollongong City Council, and the Port Authority of NSW.

With early bird registrations closing on 31 July, members and stakeholders are encouraged to register soon and ensure their place at this premier industry event. More information can be found, and registrations made at the official event website.




Written by: Bridget Gomez