Australia’s Cruise Industry Growing the Fastest

Denise Chen - Oct 27, 2014
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With 833,348 Australians (3.6% of the total population) having gone on a cruise last year, this is a record number than now puts Australian cruise industry top of the list in the world for market growth and penetration. This is according to the latest 2013 Cruise Industry Source Market Report showing how Australian cruise passengers have increased in 2013 up to 20% which is a double growth figures compared to other leading cruise markets. Compared even with North America, usually the largest source of cruise passengers where only 3.3% of the total population took a cruise in 2013, Australia now has strongest penetration rate in the market a feat that other markets are yet to achieve.

Despite still being a young cruise market, Australia is exceeding its expectations in the international market. This is according to Gavin Smith, the Chairman of CLIA Australasia. While launching the findings, Smith said that Australians are increasingly taking cruises and enjoying the experience too at an impressive average of 20% annually for the last 11 years. According to him, the market penetration is a significant achievement and he still sees room for more growth in the coming years especially with more ships being deployed in 2014 and 2015. He hopes that by 2016, Australia will have more than a million passengers taking cruises per year.

The latest figures from CLIA Australasia shows an impressive performance compared to 2012 where the number of Australian passengers rose by 11% to 694,602. Gavin Smith also said that the continuous growth is also good to the economy bringing in foreign exchange and boosting many Australian towns and cities.

The Key 2013 CLIA Australasia Cruise Industry Source Market Report Findings include;

Compared to key markets like France and Germany with a growth of 9%, USA with 3% and Ireland/UK by 1%, Australian passengers contributed to more than double growth rates (20%) in the market.

Australia’s' penetration rate at 3.6 % is the leading rate in the world compared to North America’s 3.3%, UK/Ireland 2.5%, Germany 2.1% and Italy 1.4%.

In 2013, almost 80,000 more Australians cruised the popular South Pacific region which is more than 330,000 or 40% of the entire cruise market.

With more than 50, 000 Australians cruising the inland waterways, the numbers increased rapidly up to 25%.

With expanding cruise ship capacity, passenger numbers in the Asian region rose to 28%, (44,382 passengers) a major milestone in the region.

More Australians are also taking cruises to New Zealand at almost 100,000.

Most Australian passengers still prefer Europe as their long-distance cruise destination, an increase of 34% (over 77,000 cruisers). Of these passengers, majority preferred the Mediterranean region while the numbers for those headed to Northern Europe increased by over 50% (approximately 20,000).

Passengers taking an 8-14 day cruise rose by almost 35% from 353,342 in 2012 to 475, 154 in 2013.

Australian cruisers spent approximately 8.7 million days at sea in 2013 which is 22% more than in 2012. Those on holiday spent 10.25 days averagely on an ocean cruise with those on river cruises 14.4 days.

Most Australian passengers are from New South Wales (41.1% of the market).

Cruisers have varied travel plans with holiday makers representing almost all age brackets.

Following the figures announced by CLIA depicting the popularity of cruise holidays with Australians, a record cruise season is expected in Australia this summer. More than 600 cruise ships are scheduled to dock in various ports around the country in the coming months. A total of 36 CLIA member cruise lines will sail the Australian waters making a total of 642 calls in different ports between October 1st 2014 to April 30th 2015. According to Brett Jardine, CLIA Australasia General Manager 3 ships among the fleet will also be making first time visits to Australia while 18 ships will make a total of 253 round-trip cruises from Fremantle, Melbourne, Sidney and Brisbane. This is an increase of 51 round-trip cruises compared to 202 round-trip cruises in 2012.

Mr Jardine also said that increased round-trip cruises especially with 21 more maiden visits compared to 2012's 17 will boost the country's economy. Carrying international tourists and Australians in their tens of thousands, the cruise lines will benefit Australian economy greatly during the peak summer period. Some cruise ships will also visit the local regions giving the holiday makers a chance to explore other parts of Australia as well.


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