I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Tourism on the subject of the cruise ship Athena.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The Adelaide-bound international cruise ship Athena is a vital part of South Australia's tourism, with a four-week stay-over period in Adelaide and stop-offs at other SA coastal towns. The Athena has been detained from late September in France due to the alleged non-payment of bills. Can the minister provide us with an update on what has taken place with the Athena and how it will affect South Australia's tourism season?
The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Minister for Forests, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Tourism, Minister for the Status of Women) (14:38): I am very grateful and thank the honourable member for her most important question because the increase in cruise ships to South Australian waters has been a significant achievement of the South Australian Tourism Commission under this government.
Not only have we significantly increased the number of ships that sail into South Australian waters and dock at our ports but we've increased the size of the ships and the number of tourists who come off those ships and join in on various tours and come into town to shop and enjoy our facilities and amenities. Not only that but we've also successfully been able to ensure that we are sharing some of those economic benefits with our regions.
I have recently opened a new platform on Kangaroo Island that enables larger ships more conveniently to dock there. The numbers of bookings have increased slowly over time for Kangaroo Island, and we know that's a very important tourism destination for us and also Robe and Port Lincoln. The cruise ships do offer significant economic benefit to South Australia, and it is a wonderful achievement for our hardworking South Australian Tourism Commission.
I do not have the details of those matters relating to the Athena. I am not aware of those. I am happy to look into those and bring back any materials that might be relevant to the questions asked by the Hon. Michelle Lensink but, as I said, it is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the important achievement of the increase in tourism by cruise ship liners to our waters. As I said, that has a significant economic impact on this state, and that is what this government is all about.