Sydney was the greatest beneficiary of the 47 Australian ports visited by cruise ships last year (Image: CLIA)
The cruise industry contributed AU$5.2 billion (US$ 3.56 billion) to Australia’s economy in the 2018-2019 financial year, an increase of just over 11% from the previous financial year.
The figures were released in a report commissioned by Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) and the Australian Cruise Association (ACA). Compiled by the AEC Group, the independent assessment found that the cruise industry supported the equivalent of 18,135 full-time jobs in Australia in 2018-2019, a 6.6% increase on the previous year. A total of 1,240 cruise ships visited the country during this period, resulting in AU$2.5 billion (US$ 1.71 billion of direct expenditure from passengers, crew and cruise lines.
Australia’s accommodation sector benefited the most from cruise passengers, receiving 33.3% of their combined spend. The food and beverage sector accounted for a further 20.3%, followed by transport at 14.5% and retail at 11.7%.
Cruise lines also increased expenditure by 4.6%, with spending on items including fuel, food, port charges and administration totaling almost AU$1.1 billion (US$753 million). Crew members also spent a total of AU$35 million (US$24 million) while in port.
“Cruise passengers now spend an average of AU$387 (US$266) each for every day they’re on shore in Australia, which provides enormous benefits to businesses like hotels, restaurants, tour operators and retailers,” said Joel Katz, managing director of CLIA Australasia. “A lack of available berthing space in Sydney has made it difficult for the cruise industry to increase its capacity in Australia, but this has been countered by significant increases in the amount of spending by cruise passengers.”
Cruise ships have visited 47 different ports around Australia in the past financial year, with the main beneficiary being the port of Sydney in the state of New South Wales. However, vessels also called at more remote coastal communities, spreading tourism to areas which are less frequently visited.
“The economic impact of cruising is not only enormous and growing, it’s also reaching locations that might otherwise be difficult for visitors to access,” said Jill Abel, CEO of ACA. “The diverse range of ports Australia offers around its coast is attracting more and more cruise lines, while also spreading the economic benefit of cruise tourism to the furthest corners of the continent.”
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