The extraordinary growth of the Australian cruise industry has been highlighted in a new report which reveals that the number of Australians taking a cruise holiday surged by a record 34 per cent last year to reach an all-time high of 623,294.
Compiled by the International Cruise Council Australasia, the 2011 Australian Cruise Industry Report found that the growth in Australian cruise passenger numbers in 2011 outstripped all other major international markets, with the US recording a 4 per cent rise in passengers and the UK reporting a 5 per cent increase.
Released at an industry function in Sydney today, the report also reveals that 40 per cent of the nation’s cruise passengers live in New South Wales with Queensland accounting for 24 per cent, Victoria 16 per cent and Western Australia 9 per cent.
Now in its 10th year, the Australian Cruise Industry Report looks at key trends drawn from data supplied by ICCA member cruise lines carrying Australian passengers around the world.
Launching the 2011 report, ICCA Chairman Gavin Smith said the latest figures cemented cruising’s status as the shining star of the tourism industry, with the Australian cruise market leading the world in terms of growth.
“While other industries have waivered in these tough economic times, cruising has continued to expand, with its popularity in Australia growing significantly year-on-year,” Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith attributed the growth to the broadening range of cruise ships available locally and overseas, as well as increasing awareness of the great value that cruise holidays offer, with all-inclusive fares covering accommodation, transport and meals.
“Every year we are seeing more cruise ships based in Australia and more ships visiting our shores, taking the profile of cruising to new heights and prompting an unprecedented number of Australians to take to the seas for their holidays.”
Key findings of the 2011 Cruise Industry Report include:
- Australian cruise passenger numbers rose 34 per cent from 466,672 in 2010 to 623,294 in 2011
- Local cruising to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific accounted for 70 per cent of Australian cruise passenger numbers in 2011
- The South Pacific retained its position as the most popular destination for Australians, attracting 37 per cent of passengers (230,321) in 2011
- The number of Australians cruising to New Zealand surged by 80 per cent in 2011 to reach 84,013, reflecting an increase in the number of transTasman cruises
- River cruising passenger numbers grew by 22 per cent to almost 35,000, accounting for 6 per cent of Australian cruise passenger numbers
- The growth in passenger numbers saw a rise in estimated sea days (ie total days spent at sea by Australian holidaymakers) to almost 6.5 million – up 36 per cent on 2010
- 2.7 per cent of the Australian population took a cruise in 2011, placing Australia second in the world in terms of market penetration
- Cruise passenger numbers rose by more than 23 per cent annually between 2006 and 2011.
Mr Smith said the cruise industry was well on target to reach its goal of one million passengers by 2020.