The number of New Zealanders taking an ocean cruise broke through the 100,000 barrier for the first time in 2018, reaching a total of 112,000 passengers in a year of world-leading growth.
Katz said the record result was a 14.6% increase on the previous year, giving New Zealanders a growth rate well ahead of the world’s largest and more established cruise markets, including the US (9.4%) and Europe (3.3%).
He said New Zealand passenger growth has averaged 13.5% each year over the past 10 years.
He said 2.5% of New Zealand’s population took an ocean cruise last year, giving the nation a greater market penetration rate than established markets like Italy (1.3%), Spain (1.1%) and France (0.8%).
‘New Zealanders have developed a strong passion for cruising, resulting in growth rates that are among the highest in the world,’ Katz said. ‘Not only are they choosing a cruise to explore the world in increasing numbers, they are also opting to cruise in their own waters to see more of New Zealand.’
Growth was driven primarily by a 20.6% increase in the number of New Zealanders cruising within the South Pacific, Australia and domestically. The number taking fly/cruise options in destinations further afield also grew, up 3.2% on the previous year.
Auckland Council’s green light
Katz said the report supports Auckland Council’s approval last month to increase the capacity of Queens Wharf with dolphins to allow large cruise ships to safely berth in Auckland.
‘Boosting capacity in Auckland will ensure increasing demand among both New Zealanders and international visitors can be met in the future,’ Katz said. ‘This, together with the development of a new cruise berth at Lyttelton to serve Christchurch, gives us confidence New Zealand’s cruise sector will continue to grow well into the future.’