Gold Coast City Councillor Paul Taylor says a cruise ship terminal is "essential" for tourism in the city.
Last week the Gold Coast City Council committed a potential $1.7 million of its budget towards economic, engineering and navigational reports for two potential cruise ship terminals.
Councillor Taylor says it would be a great way to put the Gold Coast on the global market, but other councillors are not so sure.
"I think it would be great for the Gold Coast, economy-wise, and it would get our name on the global market," Councillor Taylor said.
"I've been on cruise ships in Europe and the United States, and no-one knows about the Gold Coast.
"I think having two to three ships here, especially with the high dollar, would be a major boost to tourism."
While the proposed Wavebreak Island cruise ship terminal is set only to be a stopover destination, Councillor Taylor says the economic impact would be substantial.
"Once you get there you want to explore that destination," he said.
"You want to taste the food and get the feel of the city."
Gold Coast Tourism spokesman Ben Poles says a report conducted by EC3 Global estimates impacts for Gold Coast tourism would vary, but would be largely positive.
"Some of the work we have done demonstrates there is around $180 million in direct visitor expenditure that could be gained each year," he said of the report, based on 139,000 passenger days in the city.
Mr Poles says the Gold Coast is Australia's number one tourism destination, receiving 11 million visitors each year, with an industry worth $4.5 billion.
"We believe the Gold Coast tourism market is big enough to sustain the market of cruise ships to the region without impacting on existing operations," he said.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate says a terminal would benefit existing tourism operators, and visitors to Brisbane spend an average of $179 per day.
"Across the industry that figure is growing and I would expect it to be higher by the time the Gold Coast receives its first passengers," he said.
Not so swell
Councillor Margaret Grummit, who lives and works at the Southport Broadwater, says she is supportive of a cruise ship terminal, but not at that location.
"We have to address the Southport [Spit] sand bar and the swell of an ocean liner," she said.
"I represent the people who live on the other side of Wavebreak Island. And it was called Wavebreak for a specific purpose."
Councillor Grummitt, who spends her spare time rowing on the Broadwater, is also worried about the physical movements of a cruise ship.
She says she would prefer the terminal be built offshore.
"When there is an ocean liner being turned around everyone will have to stop," she said.
"If there is an emergency with coast guards they aren't going to be able to get out."
Councillor Taylor says environmental impact is important.
"If it starts affecting erosion or surfing then maybe the Gold Coast is not the place," he said.
"Everything has to stack up and I don't want to ruin what we have here on the coast."