This week a team of City of Sydney volunteers welcomed the first international cruise ship to dock in Sydney harbour for the season.
The MS Oosterdam brought with it 1,900 visitors - the first of many thousands more who will visit Sydney in the coming months.
We know that first impressions count, and I'd like to sincerely thank our volunteer welcoming party: Judy, Jo, Brian, Camilla, Jacky, Janet, Sandy, Jim, Tony, Rachel and Vanessa.
Between now and April, this team of volunteers will welcome cruise ship visitors at Circular Quay, Barangaroo and Garden Island, making sure the first people visitors meet are friendly and helpful.
Together, the volunteers will spend nearly 700 hours welcoming visitors to our city and giving them great local tips on what to see, where to eat and how to get around.
The cruise ship industry is very important to our local economy. Visitors shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants, stay in our hotels and visit our museums, galleries and theatres.
This season we have a record number of ships visiting Sydney - 265 international and domestic ships, up from 198 last season. By 2020 we expect the cruise industry to contribute $1.1 billion to Sydney's economy.
As well as arranging the volunteer's welcome, the City continues to work with the industry and State and Federal Governments to improve the experience of people visiting Sydney.
This year Garden Island will host three cruise ships. As one of only 2 deep-water berths on the eastern side of the Harbour Bridge, it is essential the Federal Government makes this space available more often to support our economy.
Visitor's experience of Sydney would also be great enhanced if George Street became a pedestrian and public transport boulevard with outdoor dining and world class shopping.
I will continue to work with the State and Federal Government to make this a reality.