The number of Australians taking a cruise holiday surged 34% last year to reach an all-time high of 623,294.
According to data compiled by the International Cruise Council Australasia (ICCA), the growth of Australian cruise passenger numbers last year outstripped all other major international markets, with the US recording a 4% rise in passengers and the UK seeing 5% growth.
Released at an industry function in Sydney today (Monday 30 April 2012), the ICCA’s 2011 Australian Cruise Industry Report also revealed that the number of Australians taking a cruise has almost tripled over the past five years. Of the 2011 total, 40% of the nation’s cruise passengers live in New South Wales, 24% in Queensland, 16% in Victoria and 9% in Western Australia.
ICCA Chairman Gavin Smith commented; “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.”
Smith attributed the growth to the broadening range of cruise ships available locally and overseas, as well as increased awareness of the value offered by all-inclusive cruise holidays.
“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,” he added.
Local cruising to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific accounted for 70% of Australian cruise passenger numbers in 2011, while the South Pacific retained its position as the most popular destination for Australians, attracting 37% (230,321) of passengers. The number of Australians cruising to New Zealand surged 80% in 2011 to reach 84,013, reflecting an increase in the number of trans-Tasman cruises. The river cruising sector saw 22% growth to almost 35,000 passengers, accounting for 6% of total Australian cruise numbers.
In total, 2.7% of the Australian population took a cruise in 2011, placing Australia second in the world in terms of market penetration.
Smith said the cruise industry was on target to reach its goal of one million passengers by 2020.