Letter to the Editor: Cruise ship passengers deserve a tourist destination when they visit Albany

Jon DoustAlbany Advertiser
Letters to the editor must contain the author’s full name, address and daytime contact number.
Camera IconLetters to the editor must contain the author’s full name, address and daytime contact number. Credit: Canva

I have a question for you all: Do you believe Albany is a tourist town or an occasional holiday destination?

The differences are important.

A tourist destination is a travel destination that attracts large numbers of travellers, or tourists, all year round.

People visit these destinations to see historical sites, natural wonders or buildings.

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Some tourist attractions also have activities, such as rides or games, or unusual novelties.

Souvenirs and memorabilia are often sold at these destinations and many of these areas rely on the income generated by the travellers who visit.

A holiday is a period of time during which people relax away from home and work.

A holiday destination attracts people at certain times of the year, rather than all year round.

When travellers or tourists visit a holiday destination, they usually do not expect as much as they would from or at a tourist destination — not so much to see, or do, and not as many facilities and cafes and restaurants open.

For example, in a tourist destination, a bus of 50 visitors off a cruise ship would arrive at the National Anzac Centre to find an open restaurant serving coffee, cake, lunch.

In addition, the nearby bookshop would be open, offering a wide range of memorabilia, souvenirs, plus books of renown.

Let me report what happened on Sunday, March 17, 2024.

Albany tour guides and shuttle buses took over 200 passengers up the hill that day.

The first bus was greeted by a closed restaurant and a closed shop.

The guide and bus driver apologised to individuals and then to the entire bus party for the lack of opportunity to relax and reflect with a coffee and to purchase a book or two or memorabilia.

There were veterans on board and keen readers.

The next bus arrived also to discover both shops closed but saw the cafe restaurant open around 11.30am.

The cafe restaurant initially sold coffee to eager drinkers, but around 12.30pm refused to sell further cups or cakes.

The closed shop suddenly opened as the second bus left the Forts.

Most cruise ship passengers come ashore in the belief that they are visiting a tourist destination.

It is understood that there is a labour shortage and this affects hospitality venues in particular, but staff shortages do not excuse shoddy service at a management level.

It should be made clear that staff at both the NAC and the shop are consistently and without exception polite, helpful and personable.

At the completion of a tour, one of the guides took four passengers to Paperbark for the purchasing of books.

Given the ongoing issues at the Forts, and occasionally other venues, a number of us on the frontline of tourism would appreciate the council considering the following with a view to shifting closer to the “tourist destination definition”:

  • Reviewing terms of leases of venues it owns;
  • Mandating opening hours for both those with leases and those that the city operates directly; and
  • Encouraging, in partnership with the ACCI perhaps, service training across-the-board in Albany to increase awareness of hosting responsibilities when large numbers of tourists arrive.

Jon Doust, Tour Guide, Albany

Letters to the editor must contain the author’s full name, address and daytime contact number. Letters may be edited for space, clarity or legal reasons. Email news@albanyadvertiser.com or post to PO Box 5168 Albany, WA, 6332.

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