Australian Cruise Industry Growth is World’s Highest

Posted May 2nd, 2012

Since last year, the number of Australians taking a cruise has skyrocketed, making the Australian cruise industrys’ growth the highest in the world. In 2011, 623,294 Australians took a cruise vacation, nearly 160,000 more than in 2010, a record growth of 34%.

By comparison, the United States – the world’s largest cruise market – recorded only a 4% increase in passenger numbers, while the United Kingdom recorded a 5% increase.

These figures, released on Monday by the International Cruise Council Australasia (ICCA), mean that 2.7% of Australia’s population went on a cruise last year, placing Australia second in the world in terms of “market penetration”.

According to the figures, the number of Australians taking a cruise has almost tripled over the past 5 years. ICCA Chairman, Gavin Smith, attributed this growth to the wider range of ships available locally and internationally, as well as the increasing awareness of the “all-inclusive” nature of cruising.

“Every year we are seeing more cruise ships based in Australia and more ships visiting our shores, taking the profile of cruising to new heights and prompting and unprecedented number of Australians to take to the seas for their holidays,” he said.

The 2011 Cruise Industry Report also estimated that Australians spent 6.5 million days at sea, which is an increase of 36% on 2010. This suggests that not only are more Australians cruising, but they are also taking longer cruises.

Local cruising to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands accounted for 70% of Australian cruise guests’ numbers in 2011, with the South Pacific retaining its position as the number 1 destination for Australians, attracting 37% of passengers.

The number of Australians cruising to New Zealand increased by 80%, largely due to the increased numbers of trans-Tasman cruises. River cruising saw a growth of 22% (almost 35,000 people), accounting for 6% of Australian cruise passenger numbers.

The report found that 40% of Australia’s cruise passengers live in NSW, 24% live in Queensland, 16% in Victoria and 9% in WA.

Gavin Smith said the figures once again reinforce cruising as the “shining star of the tourism industry. While other industries have wavered in these tough economic times, cruising has continued to expand, with its popularity in Australia growing significantly year-on-year.”

Smith added that the cruise industry was “well on target” to reach its goal of one million passengers by 2020.

Sources: Cruise Weekly, Tuesday 1 May 2012 and Travel Daily, Monday 30 April 2012

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