A Tourism Research Australia survey into cruise ship visitors to Darwin, released yesterday, reveals how dependent the passengers are on travel agents – almost three-quarters (74%) booked though agents.
Nearly four in 10 passengers (39%) booked their cruise in person with a travel agent. A further 20% booked through a travel agent online, while 15% booked by phone with a travel agent.
Just over 20% of passengers made their booking directly with the cruise company (14% online and 7% by phone).
The research was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 974 cruise ship passengers and 43 crew from eight ships. The ships had docked at Darwin between 2 March and 26 April 2015 across different times of the week (including weekdays and weekends). The cruise ships selected covered a good mix of visitor types, cruise companies, and ship sizes.
The survey also found passengers loved Darwin. About half of all passengers (49%) viewed the inclusion of Darwin on the cruise itinerary as an important factor in selecting their cruise. First-time visitors to Darwin (56%) and domestic passengers (51%) were more likely than repeat visitors (42%) and international passengers (46%) to regard the inclusion of Darwin on the itinerary as important.
Australia’s cruise industry has experienced strong rates of growth over the past decade. In 2013-14, the number of cruise ship visits increased 13.4%. The Northern Territory (NT) benefits significantly from the cruise sector. In 2013-14, the sector contributed approximately AUD 54 million directly to the NT economy.
Tourism Research Australia (TRA) – in partnership with Tourism NT – contracted Colmar Brunton to survey visiting cruise ship passengers and find their thoughts on their visits.
- Nearly all passengers surveyed spent money while in Darwin. Average expenditure per passenger was AUD 94.
- Shopping and food and drink were the items most often purchased by passengers while in Darwin.
- Average spend per passenger was much higher for pre-paid organised tours than for other purchases.
- There was a high rate of satisfaction with nearly all aspects of Darwin and the overall visitor experience.
- On average, passengers participated in around five self-guided activities in Darwin.
- Walking around/general sightseeing and shopping were the most common activities.
- Nearly one-third of passengers went on an organised tour. The majority were first-time visitors to Darwin.
- The rates of likely return to and recommendation of Darwin as a travel destination were high and an indicator of Darwin’s appeal to cruise passengers.
Edited by Peter Needham