One in every 17 Australians is cruising

Joel Katz, centre, with CLIA Australasia chairman Sture Myrmell, left, and Port Authority of NSW ceo  and director Grant Gilfillan at Thursday’s briefing Joel Katz, centre, with CLIA Australasia chairman Sture Myrmell, left, and Port Authority of NSW ceo and director Grant Gilfillan at Thursday’s briefing PHOTO: Helen Hutcheon

Australia once again leads the established cruise markets in penetration rates, with 5.8% of the population taking an ocean cruise in 2018 — compared to 4% in the US, 3% in the UK and 2.8% in Germany.

This was announced at an industry reception on Thursday at the NSW Parliament House in Sydney when CLIA Australasia unveiled its 2018 ‘Australia Ocean Source Market’ report.

MD Joel Katz said methodology comparable to other CLIA global research was used to involve the 95% of member cruise lines. Katz said CHART Management Consultants surveyed the remaining non-members.

1.35m Australians cruised last year 

He said Australia has continued its long run of cruising growth with a total of 1.35m Australians taking an ocean cruise last year — a slight increase on the previous year.

However, growth slowed to just 0.9% year-on-year, reflecting capacity constraints associated with a shortage of berthing infrastructure in Sydney.

Katz said cruising in local waters — Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific — grew by just 0.1% over figures for 2017 but was offset by growth of 3.4% in the number of Australians taking fly-cruise options in destinations further afield, indicating demand remains strong in the Australian market.

NSW still No. 1 

New South Wales still represents more than half the Australian ocean cruise market (53%), with Queensland contributing 22% and Victoria 13%.

The average age of the Australian passenger remains steady at 49 and the average cruise length was down from 9.1 days in 2017 to 8.8 days in 2018.

The majority of Australians cruised within Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific (76.6%). Europe/Mediterranean was the most popular long-haul destination (8.1%), followed by North America/Caribbean/Alaska/Hawaii (7.3%) and Asia (5.4%).

In the inbound market about 200,000 people came from other regions to cruise in Australasian waters in 2018, with more than half from North America. Europe/UK and Asia followed.

Future potential

Katz said the construction of the new International Cruise Terminal in Brisbane and other cruise related projects in Cairns, Eden and Broome are expected to reignite growth in the homeport market.

‘There is so much potential,’ he said. ‘Smaller older vessels are being replaced with newer, larger ships to meet demand and with a third terminal in Sydney on the horizon more cruise lines will continue to base ships here.’

Posted 02 May 2019

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Helen Hutcheon

Australasia correspondent