Booming Australian cruise sector continues to smash records

New South Wales remains Australia's biggest cruise market
New South Wales remains Australia’s biggest cruise market

The Australian cruise industry continues to grow rapidly, with record levels of port calls, expenditure and employment in the 2015-16 season.

This is according to the latest data from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which revealed continued double-digit growth in all key market performance indicators.

For example, overall cruise ship visit days to Australian ports increased 39% in 2015-16, with a 45% surge in homeport visit days. This in turn helped drive improved economic impact for the country; the cruise industry’s contribution to the Australian economy increased 27% year-on-year to a record AU$4.58 billion (US$3.5bn).

Cruise line expenditure now exceeds AU$1.3bn, up 23% year-on-year, while direct passenger expenditure rose 18% to AU$959 million. Indirect and induced expenditure added a further AU$2.27bn. The country’s cruise industry now employs 18,700 Australians directly and indirectly – a 23% increase on the previous year’s number of 15,200.

Steve Odell
Steve Odell

“Our challenge is to make sure that this growth is not taken for granted by government and other stakeholders,” said CLIA Australasia’s chairman, Steve Odell.

“Australia is very appealing for both homeported and international cruise ships, but to make the most of our potential and maintain our edge in an increasingly competitive environment, we must recognise the importance of long term infrastructure planning and a positive regulatory environment, and do all that is possible to encourage more cruise ships to our shores.”

By state, New South Wales’ cruise economy expanded 20% to US$2.89bn, while Queensland’s surged 53% to AU$976m and Victoria’s increased 43% to AU$346m. The Northern Territory’s output doubled to AU$62m, Tasmania rose 32% to AU$60m, South Australia was up 72% to AU$51m and Western Australia rose 9% to AU$190m.

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