THE 2012-13 cruise ship season presents one of the most interesting and exciting challenges for local tourism and business.
Where last year Esperance had five cruise ships docking here, this year we have a promised number of 11 - a vast increase on the previous year.
Spending by cruise ship passengers and crew provide a stimulus to the economies to ports-of-call like Esperance.
With the imminent arrival of first cruise ship, Radiance of the Seas, next Tuesday, October 24, it is imperative that the town makes the most of the opportunity presented then and in coming months.
The cruise season for 2012-13 will run through to April with another two ships due to grace our shores in November next year.
Passengers are expected to make purchases in categories such as food and beverages, beauty items, household items, fine art and jewellery as well as tours and transportation - all of which Esperance has on offer.
While cruise ship passengers impact the Esperance economy through their direct expenditures made while in port there is also the resulting multiplier effect that this spending has on local businesses and the town in general.
But this effect can only be fulfilled if the town works hard to put on an attractive face for visitors, stays open to provide the facilities passengers are looking for and provides the level of customer service that will make visitors want to return and want to tell their friends of their good experience.
Ensuring a positive experience for these visitors in coming months will mean a significant step forward for the ongoing growth of our local tourism operators and the town of Esperance in general.
A smiling face with an offer of assistance and well-presented service may just be the selling points we need.