The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has urged the New South Wales (NSW) Government to meet the rising demand for cruise ship berthing options in the region.
Joel Katz, CLIA Australasia’s Managing Director, has called on the government to engage with the industry to resolve the lack of berths east of the Harbour Bridge as the lack of capacity in Sydney is forcing cruise lines to redeploy their ships.
Katz said that “resolving the lack of berthing space in Sydney Harbour is an absolute priority to ensure the continued growth of cruise tourism in Australia.”
The call comes on the back of CLIA Australasia’s 2016 Australian Ocean Passenger Cruise Industry Source Market Report which shows that Australia’s cruise industry continues its growth trajectory hitting record highs in 2016, with annual ocean cruise passenger numbers surging by 21 percent to a record 1.281,159.
The growth of 222,378 passengers is the biggest increase on record, according to the report.
“In 2016, Australia achieved the equivalent of 5.3 percent market penetration, that’s one in 19 Australians taking a cruise, making this the highest per capita ratio in the world,” Katz commented.
As informed, the most popular cruises are local itineraries in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, growing by 30.2 per cent year on year. The South Pacific maintained its position as Australia’s favorite cruise destination attracting more than 42 percent of ocean cruise passengers.
Since 2007, Australia’s ocean cruise passenger numbers have increased by an average of 19.4 percent per year and in the last five years, these numbers have doubled, according to Katz.
“However, future growth of Australia’s cruising sector will be hindered by a lack of berthing options in major capital cities,” Katz pointed out.
“To achieve the 11.8 percent annual Australian passenger growth needed to achieve the goal of 2 million passengers by 2020, there are significant challenges facing us as an industry here in Australia, particularly in Sydney. These must be urgently addressed,” Katz concluded.