One year later, the cruising renaissance continues to grow
By Joel Katz, Managing Director, CLIA Australasia
It is now one year since the Australian Government announced it would end its long-running cruise suspension, opening the way for the revival of an industry worth billions of dollars a year to communities around the country.
This anniversary is an incredible milestone for the tens of thousands of Australians who backed CLIA’s campaign for revival – including the many travel agents, tour operators, industry suppliers and other supporters who engaged with their members of parliament, took their message to local media and joined rallies around the country.
Just a few weeks later the ban was lifted, and by May the first ships were carrying excited passengers from local ports.
Since then, more than 40 international cruise ships have returned to our waters, launching what has quickly become a cruising renaissance in Australia. Next summer will see at least 60 ships, a similar number to those seen before the pandemic.
Worldwide, cruise passenger volumes are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year, with even the more conservative of forecasts predicting record numbers in the years beyond.
Importantly, public enthusiasm around cruising is already back at pre-pandemic levels. CLIA market research shows 80% of Australians who have cruised before say they will cruise again, a level similar to the 82% recorded in 2019.
This is great news, not just for cruising but for the many other supporting industries that make up the wider cruise economy.
As Tourism Accommodation Australia and Accommodation Association Chief Executive Officer Michael Johnson said this month, the return of cruise tourism has provided a major boost for hotels across the country and helped lift occupancy and food and beverage spending.
“To witness the many guests arriving at hotels in Sydney this summer as the cruise ships dock in Circular Quay and White Bay is a wonderful sight to see for our industry,” he said.
Australia has traditionally been one of the world’s most passionate cruise markets. Just one year after cruising was given a green light to return, it’s great to see that passion is as strong as ever.