By Joel Katz, Managing Director, CLIA Australasia
CLIA’s latest source market data for Australia has confirmed what we’ve been hearing from our travel agent community for some time – Australians are heading back to sea, and they’re doing so with great passion.
Our first report since cruising’s resumption in this region shows an admirably strong start to the season, with more than 457,000 Australians taking a cruise during 2022.
When you consider that we revived operations only around the middle of the year with just a handful of ships sailing short domestic itineraries, it’s a very solid result.
But perhaps the most telling indicators came in the final quarter of 2022. CLIA’s calculations show passenger volumes in the last three months of the year had risen to around 90% of the same three months in 2019. That suggests an incredibly swift recovery in this market, faster than many of the larger markets overseas where cruising resumed much earlier.
Anecdotally, CLIA agents tell us the momentum has continued well into 2023 and that we can look forward to similar success in the summer ahead. At the global level, CLIA forecasts show cruise passenger volumes are likely to return to 2019 levels by the end of this year.
There was similar optimism on the floor of ATE earlier this month, where we found a huge amount of interest in cruising in our region.
Together with the Australian Cruise Association, CLIA took part in a busy schedule of appointments which showed there’s a growing awareness of Australia as a cruise destination and that we have a lot of potential in our ability to combine incredible experiences on land as well as at sea.
Supported by Tourism Australia, cruise lines are working to grow Australia’s inbound cruise opportunities and further develop our industry’s economic contribution in destinations around the country.
With enthusiasm from overseas and a passionate cruise market at home, there’s a lot to be optimistic about in Australian cruising and plenty of opportunity ahead for our travel agent supporters.