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Cruising In Australia Confirmed As A Dominant Force, But Lack Of Port Infrastructure Means Lost Opportunities !

The latest cruise industry economic impact study highlighting a record $3.6 billion contribution to the national economy provided stunning evidence of cruising’s long value chain, Carnival Australia Executive Chairman Ann Sherry said today.

Ms Sherry said the independent study commissioned by industry association CLIA Australasia showed cruising was 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 $1 billion a year.

This included a 15 per cent increase in spending for ship supplies, maintenance and repair, 12 per cent more spent on food and beverage with widespread benefit to the agriculture sector and a 17 per cent increase on shore excursions supporting tourism operators and jobs growth.

“Carnival Australia cruise brands have contributed significantly to the increase in the number of ships home ported in Australia, which has helped drive the big increase in purchasing from local suppliers especially in the food and beverage area,” Ms Sherry said.

“The expansion of the home brand P&O Cruises’ fleet, with the addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, has played a big part in this and also in the increase in the number of regional destinations now regularly hosting cruise ship visits.”

Ms Sherry said the study also highlighted 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.

In 2014-15, the period covered by the study, this lost opportunity was estimated at $7 million but Ms Sherry said that in the absence of port facility improvements this could become more than $35 million in lost opportunity over the next five years.

Pointing to regional performance, the study confirmed that while NSW continued to dominate in cruise-related economic activity, its share had fallen from 73 per cent in 2013 to 67 per cent in 2014-15. 

“Separate to the study we now know that NSW authorities underestimated the potential growth of cruising and the need for port facility improvement to accommodate its strong growth as outlined in the new study,” Ms Sherry said.

“According to their forecasts, it would be 2030 before Sydney could expect to see 445 cruise ship calls a year but we now know that this level will be achieved by next year based on current bookings, highlighting the urgent need to solve port constraints in Sydney Harbour.”

Information supplied by: Carnival Australia.

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