WHEN the P&O cruise ship Pacific Dawn sails into Gladstone Harbour in two weeks, the head of Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Darryl Branthwaite expects $400,000 to be injected into the local economy.

Mr Branthwaite has based the juicy $400,000 figure on rough estimates but, he says, if 2000 cashed up cruisers spend $200 on their short stay in Gladstone then reaching the amount will be easy.

The first cruise ship will dock at the wharf at Auckland Point One on 10 March where passengers will be greeted with a "civic welcome" and Mayor Gail Sellers will hand over the keys to the city to the captain of the Pacific Dawn.

When passengers step off the cruise ship and touch dry land they will be met by the Feast on East market which will include 100 stalls offering everything from food, clothing, coffee and the locally brewed Baffle Beer.

Live entertainment will be on offer all day with organised tours to Heron and Quion Island, scenic flights over the southern Great Barrier Reef as well as guided tours showing off Gladstone's industry and township.

This first cruise has been billed as a trial run for the 16 other scheduled stops P&O will make to Gladstone over the next two years.

It's expected the 17 stops will bring between 13,000 and 14,000 people to the region.

At yesterday's Gladstone Region Cruise Stakeholder Update meeting Mr Branthwaite said his team had been working their "freckles" off and will be pulling out all the stops to ensure Gladstone didn't miss out on this "opportunity".

"Our lifestyle and industry and the access we've got to the Great Barrier Reef is astonishing and it's all in our backyard," he said earlier.

"We expect to see more small businesses expanding and more opportunity for employment."

With so much interest generated in the day, Judy Irwin was kicking herself she missed out on getting a site at Feast on East.

"I didn't realise it was so important," she said.  

"I'm now on the waiting list."

An ambassadors meeting will held at the Yaralla Sports Club at 9am on Thursday.


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