Australians are still primarily choosing local cruises, but other destinations are becoming more popular (Image: CLIA)
A total of 1.35 million Australians took an ocean cruise in 2018, a 0.9% increase from 2018, according to a new report from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia.
The 2018 Ocean Source Market report found that almost 6% of the Australian population took a cruise last year, meaning the country had the highest market penetration rate of the world’s major established cruise markets, which include the US (4%), the UK (3%) and Germany (2.8%). Just over half (53%) of the passengers came from New South Wales, while 22% hailed from Queensland and 13% were residents in Victoria. Their average age was 49 years old.
According to the report, 76.6% of Australians booked itineraries to destinations in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific – a 0.1% growth from 2018. However, there was a 3.4% rise in the number of Australians taking fly-cruise options to destinations further afield. Europe and the Mediterranean were the most popular long-haul destinations (8.1%), followed by cruises to North America, the Caribbean, Alaska and Hawaii (7.3%), and voyages to Asia (5.4%).
“Cruising continues to be exceptionally popular among Australian travellers after many years of growth and world-leading market penetration,” said Joel Katz, CLIA Australasia’s managing director. “A lack of berthing capacity in Sydney has hampered cruise lines’ efforts to expand their operations in local waters, but the increasing number of Australians flying to ports overseas shows the market is still strong and holds great potential for the future.”
CLIA’s report predicted that the “subdued growth trend” caused by a shortage of berthing infrastructure in Sydney will continue into 2019, but it predicts a return to stronger growth in the near future.
“Cruise lines have already announced significant new vessel deployments in this region from the 2020-21 season, with smaller, older ships to be replaced with newer, larger options,” said Katz. “Combined with the construction of a new International Cruise Terminal in Brisbane and other projects announced in Cairns, Eden and Broome, this is expected to reignite growth in the Australian market.”
Download a copy of CLIA’s 2018 Ocean Source Marketreport.