According to Destination Wollongong general manager, Mark Sleigh confirmed, Star Cruises would use Illawarra as homeport for 3 roundtrips in the upcoming season (from October through April). This means that each voyage would begin and end at Kembla, increasing tourists to about 9000 each time as opposed to 4500, with more economic spend because of overnight stays.
According to Cruise Wollongong chair, Wollongong Councilor Leigh Colacino, Sydney NSW doesn't have the capacity for further growth. He added that Port Kembla was "ready in the short term and even into the long term."
In 2016-2017 NSW accounted for 58% of the cruise industry's economic contribution to the economy of Australia, according to CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association).
Explorer of the Seas was the 7th cruise vessel to dock at Port Kembla since 2016, and it comes as the state government announced their twenty-year vision for South Coast tourism in Marine Tourism Strategy 2019 report.
The report outlines several strategies to promote the coast, such as "developing a voyaging network to enhance well-established ports and enhance onshore multipurpose passenger facilities."