New Zealand's Cruise Industry Hits New Record High
New Zealand's Cruise Industry Hits New Record Highs
New Zealand’s booming cruise industry hit a record 168,000 passenger and crew arrivals last season, pumping $204 million into local economies from Auckland to Otago.
Figures released today by Cruise New Zealand showed that New Zealand’s cruise industry has grown from 27 cruises and 19,400 passengers in the 1996/1997 season, to last season’s 116, 200 passengers and 51,500 crew on 98 cruises.
The cruise season runs from the end of September to April.
Craig Harris, chairman of Cruise New Zealand and chief executive of McKay Shipping in Auckland said that the international cruise lines would make a record 520 port calls throughout New Zealand, during the coming season.
Auckland was the biggest beneficiary of the booming cruise industry, attracting $123.8 million (60 per cent) of direct expenditure. This was followed by Bay of Plenty with direct cruise spending of $17.7 million, Canterbury $16.8 million, Otago $15.1 million, Wellington $10.4 million and Southland $7.1 million.
Total direct spending for the 2007/2008 season was $204 million.
Mr Harris said the industry’s rapid growth was putting pressure on facilities at some ports, particularly in Auckland.
“In the following seasons, based on port call bookings, there will be a 15 per cent increase in passenger numbers. This will put pressure on infrastructure and tourist services at many destinations, which are already facing a number of challenges,” Mr Harris said.
Americans made up 39 per cent of international passengers in the 2007/8 season and Australians 24 per cent. New Zealanders who fill winter cruises to the Pacific account for 19 per cent of all passengers.
Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said the cruise industry was a growing part of US visitor arrivals to New Zealand, which stood at 216,493 in the year to June.
“Research shows that close to 70 per cent of American visitors who come to New Zealand on a cruise want to return for a longer holiday.
“That means cruise passengers represent a great opportunity for New Zealand to attract repeat visitors from the US, where residents are thinking hard about spending on big ticket items like holidays because of economic uncertainty and high fuel prices,” Mr Hickton said.