ACA reveals speaker line-up for anniversary conference

Organisation's 25th milestone to be marked in Wollongong

Wollongong | Credit: Dee Kramer

An impressive speaker program has been confirmed for the milestone 25th Australian Cruise Association Conference (ACA) and AGM being held from 30 August – 1 September 2023 in Wollongong, NSW.

With considerable momentum gathering behind the cruise industry, the Conference is appropriately titled “Full Steam Ahead” with a range of keynote presentations and panel discussions to reflect the theme.

“With such a positive outlook for cruise both at home and overseas, our conference will provide the industry with the perfect opportunity to come together and ensure we are well-positioned to take advantage of future opportunities,” said Jill Abel, CEO of the Australian Cruise Association.

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An exciting line-up of keynote speakers has been announced including Stefano Borzone — Global Port Operations and Development, Princess Cruises; Dr. Natasha Montesalvo — Principal Consultant Destinations, Strategy and Insight at Earthcheck who will discuss building sustainable, resilient visitor economies and Mick Fogg — Director of Expeditions and Destination Development, Asia Pacific for Ponant Expeditions.

Sandra Lau from Viva Energy will bring her considerable expertise in the hydrogen fuel arena to the program when she speaks on the future of alternate fuels and their accessibility in Australia.

They will be joined by other leading industry experts including Phillipa Harrison from Tourism Australia and Adele Labine-Romain, Deloitte Access Economics who will round out the program to be held this year at the Novotel Wollongong Northbeach.

A pre-cruise program will be held on 30 August with numerous opportunities on offer for attendees to take a deep dive into the local region including a tour of the bustling port of Port Kembla, a trip to Illawarra Regional Airport to experience aviation history, a walking tour of the Blue Mile or a fascinating Indigenous Stand-Up Paddle Board Tour led by local Dharawal woman, Jodi Edwards.

“We are looking forward to holding our Conference back in NSW this year to reflect the importance of the state as a lynchpin for cruise itineraries throughout Australia,” Abel said.

Sublime Point Lookout, Maddens Plains overlooking Wollongong | Credit: Bayley Clark

According to the Port Authority of NSW, around one million passengers passed through Sydney cruise terminals in the 2022/23 financial year, with visitation rates in NSW approaching pre-pandemic figures at a faster rate than expected.

“Located just over an hour from Sydney, Wollongong is a key regional cruise hub for the state and delivers some wonderful opportunities for cruise passengers,” added Abel.

The final day of the Conference will kick off with a motivational breakfast followed by the AGM and Member Workshops.

It is anticipated that around 120 people will attend the Conference which is being supported by Visit Wollongong, Wollongong City Council and the Port Authority of NSW.

Members and stakeholders are advised to register soon to take advantage of the earlybird rates which will run until 31 July. See

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