'Home-porting’ pays off as NSW and Queensland lead further cruise market expansion

Issues & Trends – May 2013

‘Home-porting’ pays off as NSW and Queensland lead
further cruise market expansion

Clia graphLATEST cruise industry statistics from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia dramatically demonstrate the impact of “home-porting” on cruise demand.

The figures for 2012 show cruising achieved the highest market pene-tration in NSW-ACT and Queensland. Carnival Corporation “home-ports” liners year-round in Sydney and Brisbane.

In NSW-ACT cruising achieved a market penetration of 4.2 per cent. That’s well above the 3.3 per cent national market penetration in the US, the world’s longest-established and most successful cruise market. (Australia’s national market penetration now sits at three per cent, the second highest in the world.)

Market penetration in Queensland is also remarkable. At 3.3 per cent it is on a par with the national US figure.

The NSW-ACT market generated 318,575 cruise passengers last year, just under 46 per cent of the total Australian market of 694,062 passengers.

Combine Queensland cruise pass-engers with those from NSW-ACT and you have accounted for two thirds of the total Australian cruise market.

Victoria, with no vessels home-ported year-round in its capital, Melbourne, has a much lower penetration at only two per cent.

However, as the world’s cruise lines send more and more ships Down Under for the southern summer, Melbourne, Fremantle and Adelaide will host increasing numbers of ships which, according to CLIA, should help them grow their share of the Australian cruise market.

Overall, the Australian cruise market soared 11 per cent last year – a growth rate equalled only by Germany. North American passenger numbers grew by only two per cent while the UK market was static.

Said CLIA Australasia chairman Gavin Smith: “In only four years, the number of Australians taking a cruise holiday has more than doubled from 330,290 in 2008 to almost 700,000, while over the past decade we’ve seen an average annual growth rate of 20 per cent.”

But he warned that a focus on appropriate port infrastructure and supportive government policies will be required if the growth is to continue.

That growth is earning Australia significant tourism export dollars: In 2012 international travellers comprised 16 per cent of passengers aboard roundtrip cruises from Australia as well as trans-Tasman and trans-Pacific cruises.

The CLIA figures also reveal:

• The most popular destination for Australian passengers was the South Pacific which accounted for 36.4 per cent of the market in 2012 (252,555 passengers);

• Europe is now the biggest fly-cruise market for Australians with passenger numbers rising 26 per cent to 57,719 last year;

• River cruising numbers increased even faster than for ocean cruising with a 12 per hike to 39,275; and

• Shorter cruises of 1-4 days experi-enced the greatest growth in 2012 rising 38 per cent, with 76,719 Australians opting for a short break cruise.


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