Record 1.06 million Australians took ocean cruises in 2015

Record 1.06 million Australians took ocean cruises in 2015
Sydney in Australia is a popular port of call for Australian passengers

The total number of Australians taking an ocean cruise rose by almost 15% to reach a record 1,058,781 passengers in 2015, according to a new Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia report.

CLIA’s 2015 Australian Cruise Industry Source Market report revealed that Australia once again led the global cruise industry in terms of market penetration, with the equivalent of 4.5% of the Australian population taking a cruise last year.

Australian ocean cruise passenger numbers have increased by an annual average of 19.2% since 2006 and in 2015, there was a 42% hike in domestic cruise passenger numbers to 269,915. This means one in four Australian cruise passengers took a domestic ocean cruise last year.

More than a third of Australians opted to cruise to the South Pacific, making it the most popular destination, while domestic cruises in Australia were the second most popular type of itinerary. Europe, which remained the leading long-haul destination, was Australians’ third favourite destination overall, attracting 9.5% of passengers. Meanwhile, the number of Australians cruising to New Zealand rose by 13.5% to surpass 100,000 for the first time. The number of Australians taking an ocean cruise in Asia jumped 71.5% from 55,000 in 2014 to 95,000 in 2015.

“In 2015 we saw a range of new shorter coastal cruises sailing from Australian homeports and these have clearly captured the imagination of Australians, who see them as a new way to explore their nation,” said Steve Odell, CLIA Australasia’s chairman. “What’s more, many of these cruises are calling at regional ports around the coastline, creating a lot of chatter and enticing more Australians to try a holiday at sea, while also injecting valuable dollars into local economies.”

Australians spent an estimated 10.4 million days at sea in 2015, with the average ocean cruise lasting 9.8 days. Short break cruises of four days or less leapt in popularity, growing by 25% in 2015, while cruises of 15-21 days rose by more than 50%.

“Whether they are on a four-day cruise to a Queensland island or a 14-day voyage exploring the exotic ports of Asia, clearly more Australians are discovering that cruising is an easy, relaxing and great value way to holiday,” said Odell.

According to the report, Australia was the fourth largest source market in the world in 2015, accounting for 4.6% of global cruise passengers. In addition, the industry’s 14.6% annual growth rate was the second highest recorded by an international cruise region last year, with only the emerging market of China reporting stronger growth at 40.3%.

New South Wales was the biggest source of cruisers (421,950) while Queensland recorded the strongest growth with cruise numbers from the state rising by almost 30% compared to 2014, giving the state a record population penetration rate of 5.9%.

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