At a time when the USA is coming out of one of its coldest winters in history, the news that an Atlantis Events cruise ship and Olivia cruise ship will visit Sydney in time for the Mardi Gras parade suggests both the strategic significance of the festival to the tourism industry here in Australia and the growth of the international cruising industry.
It will be the first time in history that two gay and lesbian cruise ships have docked in Sydney.
Mardi Gras chief executive Michael Rolik was excited about the news.
“An influx of 4000 people at Mardi Gras time in 2015 is incredibly thrilling. The impact that this will have on not just the scale of our 2015 celebrations, but also the NSW economy, is huge,” he said.
Atlantis, the world’s largest company dedicated to creating unique vacations for the gay and lesbian community, also announced that tickets were on sale now.
The cruise will take place over 12 days, from Auckland to Sydney for Mardi Gras, then back again.
As an extra incentive for travel agents, Mardi Gras is offering commissionable tickets to their key events in 2015.
Olivia, the cruise ship for lesbians, has already started selling their tickets as well.
Sydney’s Mardi Gras is one of the most popular gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex celebration in the world, attracting over 29,000 visitors each year.
In 2013, there were 29,000 unique international and interstate visitors to Sydney who came specifically for Mardi Gras and it is estimated that over 100,000 people line the streets each year to watch the Mardi Gras Parade.
According to figures provided by Mardi Gras, it is NSW’s second-largest event in terms of economic impact – second only to New Year’s Eve – and contributes $30 million each year to the state economy.
Other data shows Mardi Gras has flow- on effects to other markets, including satellite tourism to Queensland beach locations like Noosa, Gold Coast and Cairns.
INFO: Tickets to the Mardi Gras Party can be purchased at www.theparty.org.au
More information about the Mardi Gras’ festival season can be found at www.mardigras.org.au
The Star Observer is a proud media partner of Mardi Gras.