Sydney cruises lead the tide

Posted February 8th, 2012

The cruise ship industry is now the biggest tourism success story in NSW, according to the NSW Minister for Ports, Duncan Gay. Leading the growing tide of cruising in the State is Sydney, which was described as the "cruise hub of Australia" but Shane Hobday, the General Manager of Safety Security and Environment at Sydney Ports.

This statement is no hollow boast if the figures are anything to go by, with Sydney cruises clocking a massive 214 vessel visits this current year, up 43% from last year's 150 visits. This is predicted to increase to 279 vessels to call next year.

"We're experiencing really significant growth," Hobday said. "In 1996 we only had 72 ships visit in a year, in 2010 we had 116, last year 150, and future forecasts predict that in 2020 we will have 322 and in 2040, 600. We're well on track to that," Hobday added.

This growth is expected to triple passenger numbers from 2010's 215,000 to 700,000 in 2020, a figure which is expected will rise again to one million in 2030 and 1.3 million by 2040.

This is of course great for the NSW economy, with predictions showing that last year's $400m cruise industry spend (including crew, passenger and ship operator spending) will explode out to a robust $1.3 million by 2019/20.

Looking forward, the Government has committed $87m to boosting infrastructure, including $57m for the new Cruise Passenger Terminal at White Bay, the development of a Master Plan for the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT), with $25m set aside for improvements to the OPT, and $5m for improvements to mooring facilities at the OPT to allow for the berthing of larger ships.

"This capital investment will ensure the provision of facilities that can cater for up to 3 passenger ships at berth in Sydney at one time - providing a significant contribution to the NSW economy," a statement from Sydney Ports said.

The White Bay terminal, where construction is to start shortly, is set for completion early 2013, with its progress being fueled by the need to vacate Barangaroo by "around March next year". And it seems that Garden Island is arising as the next big port infrastructure issue, with both the navy and the cruise industry vying for a larger chunk of the pie.

Source: Cruise Weekly, Tuesday 7 February 2012

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