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CLIA Australasia report shows value of cruising to Australia up, but constraints start to bite

Neil Linwood, who released the report today, 'constraints are starting to bite'
A new report commissioned by CLIA Australasia released today shows that cruising in Australia delivered a record economic contribution of A$3.6bn in 2014-15.

This is an 11.6% increase since 2013 when CLIA’s first economic report recorded an industry contribution of A$3.2bn.

The report prepared by Business Research and Economic Advisors shows the number of calls by homeported ships increased by 8.3% in the 2014-15 financial year, compared to the previous year, helping to boost cruise line expenditure by 11%.

Also fuelling growth was a 10.3% rise in passenger capacity on homeported ships and an 8.8% increase in capacity on visiting ships, reflecting the increasing size of cruise ships in local waters.

Findings in the report show that cruise line expenditure rose 11% to A$1.069 billion in 2014-15, including a 20% increase in travel agent commissions to A$145m and passenger expenditure rose 12.5% to A$814m.

However, capacity constraints remain a barrier to future growth, particularly in Sydney.

These constraints have limited the number of visiting international ships, prompting a 10% decline in international passenger visit days, representing a lost opportunity to the Australian economy of close to A$7m, according to the ‘Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Australian Economy in 2014-15’ report.

‘This report not only captures the impressive growth of the cruise industry, it also records the shifting structure of the industry as capacity constraints start to bite, CLIA Australasia md Neil Linwood said.

Carnival Australia executive chairman Ann Sherry said the independent study showed cruising is on course to reach two million passengers a year by 2020 -- double the industry target Carnival Australia had set -- with cruise line spending in Australia already exceeding A$1bn a year.

Sherry said the report also highlights the ‘lost opportunity’ cost of fewer international cruise tourists visiting Australia due to port capacity constraints linked to availability of berths and the ability to handle larger capacity cruise ships.