Seatrade Cruise News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Australia’s cruise industry hit new heights in 2015

Helen Hutcheon
CLIA Australasia's chairman Steve Odell, right, with commercial director Brett Jardine at the launch of the report today
Australian ocean cruise passenger numbers soared by 14.6% to a record 1,058,781 in 2015 and the country is still the only one in the world to achieve a penetration rate higher than 4%.

This was revealed today when CLIA Australasia’s 2015 Australian Cruise Industry Source Market Report was unveiled to media and stakeholders at Sydney’s White Bay Cruise Terminal.

The 14th annual source market report was focussed soley on ocean cruising in line with international CLIA reporting. A separate report on river cruising will be released later this year.

The 2015 result maintains a decade-long trend of double digit growth of 19.2% each year since 2006.

Australia’s market penetration rate of 4.5% in 2015, up from 4.2% the previous year, puts it ahead of the US again which ranked second with 3.5%. The UK and Ireland achieved 2.6%, Germany 2.2% and Canada 2%.

Australia’s growth rate of 14.6% was the second highest for a key source market in 2015, behind the emerging China market which achieved a growth rate of 40.3%. China’s result gives it a market penetration rate of just 0.1% given the country’s vast population.

Across the world 23m people took a cruise in 2015, positioning Australia as the fourth largest cruise market -- accounting for 4.6% of the world’s cruisers.

The South Pacific maintained its position as Australians’ favourite cruise destination attracting more than a third of passengers (383,889). Europe remained the leading long-haul destination, attracting 9.5% of passengers (101,419).

The number of Australians cruising to New Zealand rose by 13.5% to break through the 100,000 mark for the first time.

There was a hike of 71.5% of Australians cruising in Asia, from 55,399 in 2014 to 95,016 in 2015 and Alaska rose 19.4% with 33,315 Australian cruisers in 2015.

Short break cruises of four days or less grew by 25% while 89% of all Australians cruising in 2015 took a cruise of 14 days or less.

Australians spent an estimated 10.4m days at sea during 2015, with an average ocean cruise length of 9.8 days.

Passengers continued to come from across the age spectrum, underlining the wide array of cruises and destinations on offer and reinforcing CLIA’s claim that there is a cruise for everyone.

To reach an industry target of two million ocean cruise passengers in 2020 an average annual growth rate of 13.6%  is needed over the following five years.