Australian cruise industry shows strong growth

By @diplomatist10 on
A visitor takes photographs of Cunard's cruise liner Queen Mary 2 as the ship sits berthed in Cape Town harbour in this picture taken January 27, 2014.
A visitor takes photographs of Cunard's cruise liner Queen Mary 2 as the ship sits berthed in Cape Town harbour in this picture taken January 27, 2014. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Australia’s cruise industry is in a phase of strong growth with more Aussie cruisers preferring to enjoy the sea by spending big bucks. Noting the new business trends, a study-- Cruise Down Under Economic Impact Report- said Aussies spent AU$903 million for cruise in 2014/15, which was up by AU$678 million than the previous season of 2013-14. Veteran Carnival boss Ann Sherry said cruising is the fastest growing industry in both Australia and China.

Boost for economy

Australia is benefiting from the growth of cruise industry in a big way. In 2014-15, the visit of cruise ships injected AU$3.3 billion into the local economy, marking a 5.3 percent increase over the 2013-14 season, the Cruise-critic reported. The number of cruise ships visiting local waters is also up.

In 2014-15 season, 46 cruise ships visited Australia’s 31 ports with a total of 876 visits that was much higher than the 773 visits of the previous season.

“The figures show that Australian cruising is continuing to be a growth industry, with strong economic benefits for all involved and positive signs that Australian ports still feature highly on cruise line itineraries,” Cruise Down Under chief executive Jill Abel said.

The higher growth of the Australian cruise industry is expected to sustain with eight more new ships set to sail into Australian waters in 2016. It includes Holland America Line's Noordam, Princess Cruises' Golden Princess, Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, P&O's Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden,  Costa's Costa Luminosa, Azamara Club Cruises' Azamara Quest and Ponant's Le Soléal. P&O's five-ship spectacle will be an important event in Sydney on Nov. 25.

Meanwhile, American cruise line Carnival Corporation has stationed almost a quarter of its global fleet in Australia signaling the start of the summer cruising season. The 22 Carnival Australia cruise ships include Princess Cruises, Seabourn and P&O lines. They will sail local waters and carry  more than 5,30,000 guests and AU$4 billion will be pumped into the economy, the Australian reported.

However, chief of Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Australian, Gavin Smith, complained about the constraints in Sydney’s port and said the state government is now  looking at a number of alternatives to the overbooked overseas passenger terminal at Circular Quay and White Bay.

“Sydney Ports are certainly increasing the tempo of discussions about assisting with a longer-term solution, but in the absence of a decision about Garden Island we will be berthing outside Sydney Harbour,” Smith said.

Industry event

Meanwhile, the first South Pacific Cruise Forum will be taking place in Papeete in French Polynesia from Oct. 16 -17. The conference will have speakers from 20 cruise lines, including the Holland America Line Group, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Australia, Ponant, Paul Gauguin Cruises and Aranui. Being organised by the South Pacific Cruise Alliance, the event will have attendees who also include one hundred cruise specialists and professionals, port and tourism authority representatives from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Singapore.

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