Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy has welcomed the sale of the iconic Captain Cook Cruises to leading tourism and transport operator SeaLink Travel Group, as a collective vote of confidence and new capital investment in Australian tourism product.
The flagship Sydney-based tourism cruise operator, which began as the first privately owned tourism ferry in the harbour city in 1970, today annually carries over 750,000 passengers across its 15 vessel fleet situated on Sydney Harbour and along the Murray River.
Mr McEvoy congratulated the founder of Captain Cook Cruises, Captain Trevor Haworth and his family, for their vision, passion and their legacy left in Australian tourism spanning over four decades, as the employees and Australian assets of the company, including harbour, river sightseeing and dining cruises, along with its major Sydney Harbour Marina operations become part of the SeaLink Travel Group.
“The tourism industry should congratulate the Haworth family for the legacy they leave. Any family business that thrives for more than forty years and scales the heights it has by leveraging some of Australia’s great natural assets to so many global and local visitors must be commended,” Mr McEvoy said.
“SeaLink Travel Group has an exciting platform of planned future growth for Captain Cook Cruises and is primed to deliver new, enhanced tourism experiences in Australia’s great natural landscapes now including Sydney Harbour and the River Murray.
“It is an investment which should be applauded because it closely aligns with our tourism industry’s own strategic approach within the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential – that of attracting investment that delivers for tourists a more appealing Australia.
“The high growth and proven track record of success of the SeaLink Travel Group, will also translate at Captain Cook Cruises, by way of an injection of vibrancy and energy which is synonymous with the SeaLink team. Combined with their major financial commitment these are positives for future success for this long standing and award winning tourism product.”
Mr McEvoy said the purchase of Captain Cook Cruises by SeaLink Travel Group also aligned to a further core element of Australian Tourism’s 2020 Tourism Industry Potential – to invest in tourism product to achieve improved returns by presenting enhanced experiences for international and domestic visitors.
“This is a win-win outcome, particularly for NSW tourism, and a great positive for the future of Captain Cook Cruises and its team of around 300 people, that will continue to complement the outstanding water based product we now offer visitors on Sydney Harbour,” Mr McEvoy said.
The Australian tourism industry’s long term ambition under its 2020 Industry Potential is to double overnight visitor spending from $70 billion per annum to $140 billion by year 2020.