Summer sailing season brings renewed passion for cruise
By Joel Katz, Managing Director, CLIA Australasia
THIS month signals the start of the summer sailing season in Australia, with a succession of ships returning to local waters for the first time in more than two years.
There is now a tangible excitement around cruising in the local community, boosted by the sight of ships making their first visits to ports around the region and the renewed economic opportunities they bring.
At the same time, public sentiment around cruising continues to rise and has now returned to pre-pandemic levels among Australian cruisers.
According to CLIA’s latest market research, 81% of past cruisers in Australia say they will cruise again in the next few years – this is up significantly from the 73% shown in November last year and is close to the 82% recorded prior to the pandemic in December 2019.
Even among Australians who have never cruised before, sentiment has rebounded strongly. Fifty-six per cent of non-cruisers say they are open to cruising – still below the 63% shown before the pandemic in December 2019, but well above the 43% recorded in November 2021.
The research also shows a very positive outlook for future bookings. Among both cruisers and non-cruisers in Australia, 65% say they are likely or very likely to book a cruise in the next two years. This is higher than the pre-pandemic rate of 53% in November 2021.
Encouragingly, 82% of Australians who have cruised in the past six months say they use a travel agent to make their bookings. This shows just how much consumers value travel agents in Australia, where the rate is well above the global level of 65%.
It’s still early days, but facts like these mean we can be confident as we head into the next phases of cruising’s recovery. In what has always been one of the world’s most passionate cruise markets, the outlook is positive.