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Auckland set to break cruise records

Auckland is nearing the end of its most successful cruise season, having welcomed dozens of international ships and millions of dollars in visitor spending over the 2018-19 peak.

By the end of April, Auckland will have hosted 39 different cruise ships which will have made 110 visits since the start of the international cruise season in October. This is a 20% increase on the number of visits made during last year’s record period and will have resulted in more than 200,000 passengers visiting the city.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz said the current season was likely to challenge visitor records set in recent years.

“New Zealand has rapidly become an important destination for international cruise passengers and growth here is amongst the highest in the world,” Mr Katz said. “As New Zealand’s gateway port, Auckland is the prime beneficiary of cruising’s increasing popularity and it enjoys a substantial economic impact from each ship’s visit.”

Despite its success, Mr Katz said Auckland would not be able to maintain growth in the future without improving its berthing facilities.

“Restrictions on the length of ships that can be accommodated at Queens Wharf are hampering New Zealand’s cruise industry and threatening future growth,” Mr Katz said. “Auckland will find it increasingly difficult to cater to new ships joining the world fleet without improving its facilities, a problem that will have flow-on impacts for other destinations around the country.

“Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and other leaders have put a strong focus on the importance of tourism and its role in helping the local economy to grow,” Mr Katz said. “The cruise industry supports the temporary solution proposed for Queens Wharf which is vital to ensure Auckland can welcome all types of cruise ships while a longer term solution is developed.”

Last financial year New Zealand’s cruise industry injected $491 million into the national economy, supporting 9,100 jobs.

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