Margy Osmond, CEO, Tourism & Transport Forum Australia
Building cruise tourism
Cruise season was kicked off a few weeks ago with Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess docking in Sydney Harbour, bringing more than 3,000 passengers to the city.
The cruise industry is growing rapidly and new figures show Australia’s cruise passenger numbers hit record numbers in 2017 with 1.34 million people enjoying an ocean cruise.
Cruise tourism is a critical part of the Australian tourism offering — we need to support and nurture it. This is an industry that already pours billions of dollars into the Australian economy every year bringing visitors from all over the world to taste the wonders of Australia.Passengers on average are spending $527 a day in a port before or after a cruise.
We need certainty of port options and we need the new facilities to cope with the high demand during the summer peak.
Recently it was announced that Botany Bay will most likely be the option for a new cruise ship terminal in New South Wales. While most agree that the iconic Sydney Harbour is the money shot, if Port Botany is an option, let’s get on with it!
Rightly, the industry is very keen to see how the business case stacks up and the real feasibility of Port Botany, for both government and the tourism sector.The ingredients of this quintessential Sydney experience should not be taken lightly.
Failure to find the right solution also has ramifications for our near Pacific neighbours who will also miss out on cruise traffic if Sydney loses its lustre as a cruise hub.
Thinking nationally, for many cruise companies the vital destination in Australia is Sydney — if they cannot get the access they need in Sydney they will not come and therefore will not visit a wealth of other Australian regional destinations.
Fixing Sydney, the national gateway, is a ‘must’ if we are going to have a slice of the global cruising ‘pie’ and see those benefits flow through to the wider Australian economy. We have to get it right.