The New Zealand cruise sector is continuing to boom, with the contribution it makes to the nation’s economy projected to increase 43% in the next two years, from $447 million in 2016/17, to $640m in the 2018/19 season.
The latest report on cruise tourism’s economic contribution was released today (29 August) at the annual New Zealand Cruise Association Conference in Auckland.
Association Chief Executive Officer Kevin O’Sullivan says the number of days that cruise ships will spend in New Zealand ports will increase 31%, from 747 last season to more than 980 in 2018/19.
Passengers enjoying New Zealand hospitality will increase 46% over the same period, from almost 236,000 to over 344,000, mainly from Australia, North America and Europe.
Cruise is a valuable and fast growing part of the New Zealand tourism industry, spreading wealth and supporting thousands of jobs in communities across the country.
“The cruise sector currently supports around 8000 jobs, and this is projected to grow by 38% to more than 11,000 in 2018/19.”
Mr O’Sullivan says the massive growth in 2018/19 is being driven by more visits from just six cruise ships – Ovation of the Seas, Celebrity Solstice, Radiance of the Seas, Majestic Princess, Golden Princess and Norwegian Jade.
But he cautions that to maintain visits by these big cruise ships and the greater number of passengers, it is critically important that New Zealand’s port infrastructure can handle them.
“The ships are getting larger, and in some ports such as Auckland we currently lack the infrastructure for some of these ships to berth – they have to use tenders to transfer passengers to shore, which impacts on the visitor experience.”
Today’s conference is focusing on infrastructure, including presentations and panel discussions by New Zealand port and international cruise line representatives.