A surge in domestic cruises has helped drive Australian ocean cruise passenger numbers to a new high, according to an industry report released today.
The report shows that the total number of Australians taking an ocean cruise worldwide swelled by almost 15 per cent in 2015 to reach a record 1,058,781 passengers, with a 42 per cent hike in domestic cruise passenger numbers contributing significantly to the result.
The growth in cruising in Australian waters saw local passenger numbers rise by more than 80,000 to 269,915 – a result which means one in four Australian cruise passengers took a domestic ocean cruise last year.
Released in Sydney today, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia’s 2015 Australian Cruise Industry Source Market report reveals that Australia once again leads the global cruise industry in terms of market penetration, with the equivalent of 4.5 per cent of the Australian population taking a cruise last year.
The industry’s 14.6 per cent annual growth rate was the second highest recorded by an international cruise region last year, with only the emerging market of China reporting stronger growth (40.3 per cent).
The annual report, which is now focussed solely on ocean cruising in line with international CLIA reporting, shows that Australian ocean cruise passenger numbers have increased by an impressive annual average of 19.2 per cent since 2006.
The study also found that 135,000 more Australians took a cruise last year than in 2014 – one of the biggest increases on record in real terms.
Commenting on the report’s findings, CLIA Australasia Chairman Steve Odell said Australians were responding to the increasing array of cruises on offer.
“In 2015 we saw a range of new shorter coastal cruises sailing from Australian homeports and these have clearly captured the imagination of Australians, who see them as a new way to explore their nation,” Mr Odell said.
“What’s more, many of these cruises are calling at regional ports around the coastline, creating a lot of chatter and enticing more Australians to try a holiday at sea, while also injecting valuable dollars into local economies.”
Mr Odell said the expanding range of cruise options in Asia was also tempting Australians, with new itineraries available from China, Japan and Singapore in 2015.
“Whether they are on a four-day cruise to a Queensland island or a 14-day voyage exploring the exotic ports of Asia, clearly more Australians are discovering that cruising is an easy, relaxing and great value way to holiday.”
Other key findings of the 2015 Australian Cruise Industry Source Market report include:
- The South Pacific maintained its position as Australians’ favourite cruise destination attracting more than one-third of ocean cruise passengers (383,889). Australia was the second favourite destination.
- Europe remained the leading long-haul destination and Australians’ third most popular destination overall, attracting 9.5 per cent of passengers (101,419)
- The number of Australians cruising to New Zealand rose by 13.5 per cent to break through the 100,000 mark for the first time
- Short break cruises of four days or less leapt in popularity, growing by 25 per cent in 2015, while cruises of 15-21 days rose by more than 50 per cent
- Close to 90 per cent of all Australians cruising in 2014 took a cruise of 14 days or less
- At a State level, NSW was the biggest source of cruisers (421,950) while Queensland recorded the strongest growth with cruise numbers from the State rising by almost 30 per cent compared to 2014, giving the state a record population penetration rate of 5.9 per cent.
- Australians spent an estimated 10.4 million days at sea in 2015, with an average ocean cruise length of 9.8 days
- Australia was the fourth largest source market in the world in 2015, accounting for 4.6 per cent of global cruise passengers
The annual source market report is based on data received from CLIA’s cruise line members, which account for more than 95 per cent of the world’s cruise passengers.
A copy of the report can be downloaded from www.cruising.org.au