Port Hedland will host a Welcoming Cruise Ship Passengers to the West workshop next month as the town grows into its new position as a cruise destination.
The workshop will provide information on the skills required to ensure cruise passengers enjoy their visit to the town, from tips on local tour guides’ storytelling to what passengers will expect.
Facilitator and Tour Guides WA president Cherie Toovey said the role the local community played in making passenger visits memorable was incredibly important.
“No matter how much money is invested in tourism and promoting WA as a destination, the experience people remember is the experience they have with a local guide, ” she said.
“If you have somebody who’s a great ambassador for their area, is personable, is professional, you create a positive, lasting memory.
“The ambassadors, the local community, the shopkeepers … everyone needs to cater well (for passengers) and it will make sure ships keep coming back.”
Hedland rocketed onto the cruise ship map in late 2011, when Radiance of the Seas docked at the iron ore port to much fanfare from the local community.
Since then, the town has rolled out the red carpet for another three cruise ship visits, including the gigantic Voyager of the Seas’ maiden stop in Australia.
Ms Toovey said while Port Hedland might not be the prettiest town on the map, its unusual image was one of its best characteristics.
“People think you need to have a soft, green environment to be attractive to tourists but the unusual image is so memorable because it’s so different to what people are used to, ” she said. “The story of Port Hedland, with the ships going out of the port, its place as the engine room of the nation, that in itself creates an incredibly strong memory.
“You’re never going to get it mixed up with one of the prettier places, it’s going to stand out.”
The workshop is part of the WA Cruise Shipping Strategic Plan 2012-20, with Tourism WA to deliver a series of cruise ship workshops at the State’s regional port destinations.
The free workshop will be held at the Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery on March 6. Contact the Visitors Centre on 9173 1711 for more information.