The consumer behaviour of cruise passengers was a sign of the positive ‘multiplier effect’ of cruising’s economic contribution, Carnival Australia CEO, Ann Sherry, told a major conference in Brisbane today.
Ms Sherry said cruising’s double digit annual growth over successive years delivered a beneficial flow on effect to other parts of the tourism sector including hotels, restaurants and tour operators along with the wider economy.
“You only have to study the consumer behaviour of cruise passengers to know that cruising contributes to tourism in a positive way,” Ms Sherry said at a joint CEDA and Queensland Economic Development Forum (QEDF).
“Passengers don’t just arrive at the wharf on the day of their cruise, which is just as likely to be part of a longer holiday. Hotels, restaurants, taxis, visitor attractions and tour operators benefit because many passengers typically arrive days ahead of embarking on their cruise.
“When they return home, they’re again just as likely to stay on as part of their extended holiday. Our P&O Cruises’ Facebook site, with its more than 80,000 fans, regularly has passengers asking other fans for the names of hotels and restaurants.
“It is quite clear that cruising’s success translates into a wider tourism and retail success.”
Ms Sherry said Australia is now the world’s fastest growing cruise market and pointed to recent evidence of its growth and economic contribution, which included:
Nearly 625,000 Australians had taken a cruise holiday in 2011 – 34% more than in 2010, according to figures compiled by the International Cruise Council Australasia (ICCA)
In a decade, passengers numbers had increased from 116,000 in 2001 to the nearly 625,000 in 2011 putting the industry well on course for its goal of a million passengers by 2020
In 2010-2011, cruising contributed nearly $830 million value added to the national economy, according to a Deloitte Access Economics study commissioned by Carnival Australia
The value added contribution in 2010-2011 represented a 44% increase on the cruise industry’s $580 million contribution in 2007-2008
Ms Sherry confirmed that gaps in facilities at Australian ports including Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns remained the biggest threat to the continued growth of the cruise industry and its increasing economic contribution.
Carnival Australia, which operates a combined local fleet of P&O Cruises’ and Princess Cruises’ ships, would continue to work with governments and local authorities with a view to improving port infrastructure.