Cruising market growth in Australia is double that of any other major market, with 833,348 Australians cruising in the last year.
The 2013 Cruise Industry Source Market Report shows Australian cruise passenger numbers soared 20 per cent in 2013.
With the equivalent of 3.6 per cent of the Australian population taking a cruise in 2013, Australia has become the first nation to ever achieve a stronger penetration rate than the world’s largest passenger source market, North America. In 2013, the equivalent of 3.3 per cent of the North American population took a cruise.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Chairman Gavin Smith said Australia was ‘punching well above its weight’ in the international cruise industry.
Smith said, “Australia is still a relatively young cruise market, yet the number of Australians taking a cruise has grown by an enviable average 20 per cent a year for the last 11 years as a growing number of travellers discover the many joys of cruising.
“That’s a remarkable achievement, particularly when you consider we’re now leading the world in market penetration. With more ships being deployed in Australia in 2014 and 2015, we’ve set course for continued growth over the next few years, so the benchmark of one million annual cruise,” said Smith.
TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said this is outstanding growth for the cruise sector.
Morrison said, “Cruising presents a great opportunity for Australia’s tourism industry with flow on effects right through the visitor economy.
“Accommodation providers benefit from the additional demand cruise ships generate, as many people spend a night or two in the departure city before their cruise or on their return.
“They also spend money on shopping, dining out, transport services and visiting attractions, helping to spread the benefits throughout the visitor economy.
“The goal of carrying a million passengers a year by 2020 is now likely to be achieved as early as 2015, five years earlier than forecast because of this continued strong growth.
“Australian cruise passenger numbers increased 20 per cent in 2013, reaffirming cruising as a boom tourism sector.
“However, we need to ensure plans are in place to provide the additional berths necessary to support the future growth of the sector.
“Long term access to Garden Island in Sydney during the peak summer cruise season remains a key policy priority for TTF along with the need for a dedicated cruise facility close to the mouth of the Brisbane River to cater for larger cruise ships.”
Key findings of the 2013 CLIA Australasia Cruise Industry Source Market Report for Australia include the fact that the South Pacific is still dominating the Australian cruise market, river cruising, Asian and European (especially Mediterranean) cruising is on the rise, 8-14 day cruises are becoming increasingly popular (up 35 per cent), NSW is still the leading source market and the age range of passengers is evenly spread across all age brackets, dispelling the myth that cruising is for an older market.