Another bumper year for the Australian cruise industry

 Steve Odell, left, with Joel Katz at NSW Parliament House today Steve Odell, left, with Joel Katz at NSW Parliament House today PHOTO: Helen Hutcheon

A record 1,281,159 Australians cruised last year, an increase of 21% over 2015.

This was announced today by CLIA Australasia chairman, Steve Odell, when he presented  the ‘Australian Cruise Industry Source Market Report on Ocean Cruise Passengers 2016’  at a morning tea for industry representatives and media at  the NSW Parliament House in Sydney’s Macquarie Street.

Odell said the report is a ‘thrilling story,’ with Australia achieving a market penetration of 5.3%, up from 4.5% in 2015 and the highest in the world.

Australia’s growth rate of 21% was surpassed only by the emerging  market of China and New Zealand, albeit a much smaller market.

Australia once again performed well ahead of established markets such as Germany (11.3% growth), the UK and Ireland (5.6% growth) and US/Canada (5.7% growth).

The number of Australians taking ocean cruises has increaed on an annual average of 19.4% since 2007.

Domestic itineraries continued to surge, with local cruisers growing by 23.4% from 269,915 in 2015 to 332,979 in 2016.

The South Pacific maintained its position as Australia’s favourite ‘overseas’ destination, attracting more than 42% of passengers.

New Zealand pulled ahead of Europe in 2016 as Australia’s third most popular destination, attracting 8.3% of passengers.

Alaska saw an increase of 25.5%, while Europe fell by 11.8% and Asia by 10.1%.

Short break cruises of four days or less grew 59.7% and cruises of 22+ days rose by more than 20%. The majority of all Australians cruising in 2016 took a cruise of 14 days or less.

Australians spent an estimated 12 million days at sea in 2016, with an average ocean cruise length of 9.4 days.

Australia was the fifth largest source market in the world in 2016, accounting for 5.2% of global cruise passengers.

To reach the target of two million ocean cruise passengers in 2020, Australia will need an average annual growth rate of 11.8% over the next five years.

However, CLIA Australasia’s md Joel Katz said resolving the lack of berthing space in Sydney Harbour is an absolute priority to ensure the continued growth of cruise tourism.



Posted 15 May 2017

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Helen Hutcheon

Australasia correspondent