A record 90,184 New Zealanders took an ocean cruise in 2016, a 36% rise from 2015, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia.
CLIA Australasia’s new 2016 Source Market Report found that New Zealand’s ocean cruise market has doubled since 2012 and that the country was one of only four international markets to record a double-digit increase last year. It was beaten only by China.
The 2016 figures indicated that the market penetration equated to almost 2% of the population taking a cruise last year, ranking New Zealand sixth in the world ahead of many established cruise nations.
Growth has been attributed to an increase in the number of domestic itineraries, particularly P&O Cruises Australia’s longer season and additional short coastal options. The number of people cruising in New Zealand shot up by 177%, while the number visiting the South Pacific and Asia rose by almost 50% and 27% respectively.
“After another year of exceptional growth which saw New Zealand outperform other established key markets, it’s clear that cruising is continuing to grow in popularity as more capacity is deployed in the region,” said Joel Katz, CLIA Australasia’s managing director. “The most popular destinations for New Zealanders are the South Pacific, followed by New Zealand, which together account for almost 57% of New Zealand’s cruise passengers – a growth of 80% year-on-year. The figures show that New Zealanders are increasingly enjoying cruising for its easy, relaxing, and great value for money way to travel.”
Speaking at an event to mark the release of the report, Katz called on government and key stakeholders to ensure that there is adequate infrastructure planning to sustain the growth.
“With many of these local cruises calling at the regional ports around the New Zealand coastline, local communities benefit from the injection of valuable tourist dollars into the local economies, with cruise passenger spend in ports estimated to be in excess of NZ$85 million in 2016,” he said.