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Calm Waters or Rough Seas: The Future of Cruising in Australia

March 28, 2018 Cruise No Comments Email Email

The demand for cruising is estimated to grow between 14-18% in the next 12 months with approximately 1.63m Australians expected to take a cruise by EOFY 2018. However, with a third of all Australians considering taking a cruise in the next 12 months and two thirds of past cruisers considering cruising again – there is still space for acquisition of new customers to secure future demand, says tourism and cruise industry expert, Tammy Marshall.

Marshall, who heads up her own business transformation consultancy – The B Hive – which focuses on future proofing tourism industry organisations, has released an annual Cruise Industry Report on the eve of final sign off for the Port of Brisbane terminal, as Sydney ports reach capacity in the face of increasing demand.  The report provides an understanding of the future demand for cruising in Australia and identifies customer needs and potential challenges for the industry.

The report concludes that while, to date, the cruise sector has been dominated by the over 55s, there is the potential that this segment is moving closer to being exhausted, with greater future growth likely to come from younger age groups, especially the under 35s.

Affluence is still a strong predictor of cruise appeal, with those with the highest incomes finding it the most appealing, while appeal is still weakest among those who live alone, and likely to travel solo.

Marshall says it’s good news for destinations and encourages STOs and RTOs to embrace cruising to increase visitor numbers:

“A critical question for destinations in shaping their cruise strategy has always been whether cruise growth replaces land-based visits or whether it drives new visitation. Overall it appears that cruising does have a positive effect on future visitation.  Three out of five travellers consider cruising a good way to sample a destination and half of those who have taken a cruise to a destination do actually return with two fifths extending their stay at the beginning or end.”

Other investigations in the report include:

  • What types of Australians cruise? What is their cruising experience?
  • What needs does cruising fill?
  • How does this compare to land-based holidays?
  • What is the size of current demand for cruising?
  • What is future growth likely to be?
  • To what extent is cruising substituting for land-based holidays vs. generating new ways to experience destinations?
  • What drives selection of cruising? Does this vary by different customers?
  • What are the barriers to cruising?
  • What are Australian’s Cruise preferences?

The report is available to download free-of-charge at

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