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Australia, New Zealand part of a bucket list cruise package

Grant Gilfillan with a Picton Flower Lady at the opening session
‘Australia is a bucket list destination and New Zealand and the South Pacific islands form part of a broader package that is in demand,’ Grant Gilfillan, chairman of the Australian Cruise Association, told delegates at the New Zealand Cruise Association’s 2018 conference in Blenheim.

Appeal for Ritz-Carlton and Virgin Voyages

Gilfillan, who is also ceo of the Port Authority of New South Wales, said there is tremendous interest in the region by new players, including The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection and Virgin Voyages.

He said cooperation between Australia and New Zealand is vital as they are often part of the same itinerary.

Lack of government understanding

However, he said, the value of cruising to the economy of both countries is still not understood by many politicians.

‘Increased competition and the depletion of existing cheap port infrastructure requires cruise lines and ports to reconsider their future landside delivery models,’ he said.

‘This will involve robust business analysis before investment and winning over governments where long-standing scepticism about the value of cruise has hindered investment.’

World-leading penetration rate

He said running the port in Sydney for 10 years has given him much to think about regarding cruising.

‘In 2010 we had 1.5% penetration, compared with 3.5% in the USA,’ he said. ‘We are now leading the world with 5.7% penetration, while the USA is sitting on 3.7%.

‘We are determined to show leadership and to work with all parts of the industry and particularly with our friends in New Zealand.’

Flower Ladies

Gilfillan was met by a Picton Flower Lady when he arrived at the Marlborough Convention Centre for the opening session of NZCA 2018.

The Flower Ladies of Picton are volunteers who famously make corsages for every ship’s arrival in Picton, the port for Blenheim, and they were a hit with the delegates.

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