CLIA view: cruising benefits continue to grow

JOEL Katz, Managing Director CLIA Australasia

Cruising benefits continue to grow

A thriving cruise industry is having an enormous positive impact on economies worldwide, particularly in Australia where growth is fuelling job creation and helping to develop regional tourism opportunities.

Figures released recently show the cruise industry has increased its total value to the Australian economy by 11.2% year-on-year, contributing $5.2 billion in direct and indirect output during 2018-19. This is mainly driven by a big increase in passenger spending, up 17.4% on the previous year to total almost $1.4 billion.

What these figures prove is that cruising is having a very positive effect on the local economy, supporting thousands of jobs. Most importantly, they dispel the myth that cruise ships come and go without leaving local benefits.

These figures were contained in the latest annual Economic Impact Assessment for 2018-19, commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the Australian Cruise Association (ACA).

Compiled by AEC Group, they show the cruise industry supported the equivalent of 18,135 full time jobs in Australia during 2018-19, a 6.6% increase on the previous year. It says 1,240 cruise ship visits led to 3.8 million passenger and crew visit days, resulting in direct expenditure by passengers, crew and cruise lines totaling $2.5 billion.

Cruise passengers now spend an average of $387 each for every day they’re on shore in Australia, which provides enormous benefits to businesses like hotels, restaurants, tour operators and retailers.

Interestingly, businesses that are sometimes thought to face competition from cruising are among its chief beneficiaries. The accommodation sector is the biggest target of passenger outlay in Australia, receiving $450 million last financial year or 33.3% of their total spending.

Other major targets for passenger spending include the food and beverage sector, transport, retail, shore excursions, and entertainment.

The impact is felt far and wide, too. Cruise ships visited 47 different ports around Australia last financial year, bringing tourism to some of the most remote coastal communities in the country and creating benefits in locations that might otherwise be less accessible to visitors.

These benefits are continuing to grow, despite the current berthing constraints we face in Sydney, Australia’s critical gateway port. Increased passenger spending has helped counter this, but we need a third cruise terminal in Sydney urgently if Australia is to continue drawing maximum economic impact from cruising.

The importance of cruising is very clear. We now need strong support and good infrastructure nationally to allow its benefits to grow.

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