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Cruise ship spending is going full steam ahead

16 August 2019

Cruise ship spending is going full steam ahead, swelling 28 percent to $570 million in the year ended June 2019, Stats NZ said today.

The $125.2 million lift in annual cruise spending reflected a surge in the number of cruise voyages, port calls, and passengers. This followed an 11 percent increase for the June 2018 year.

“Cruise ship spending has risen every year since 2015, but the annual increase in the latest 12 months is the biggest in both dollar and percentage terms,” national accounts senior manager Gary Dunnet said.

Spending by cruise visitors in New Zealand climbed to $370.3 million, up 25 percent ($73.5 million), following a 20 percent increase in 2018. Since 2015, spending by cruise visitors has increased 84 percent ($169.1 million).

Vessel spend associated with services, including fuel (bunkering), provided to cruise ships visiting New Zealand totalled $145.5 million, up 39 percent ($41.0 million). GST from cruise expenditure contributed a further $54.0 million to total expenditure.

Auckland and Tauranga had the largest total spending by port. In the year ended June 2019, spending in Auckland totalled $192.5 million (up 32 percent), with Tauranga recording $90.3 million (up 35 percent). Dunedin surpassed $60 million (up 26 percent).

More voyages, port calls, and passengers

In the June 2019 year, the New Zealand Cruise Association recorded 176 ship voyages and 981 port calls (including an increasing number of overnights), up from 148 and 707 respectively in the 2018 year.

Nearly 322,000 cruise ship passengers visited New Zealand in the year ended June 2019, up 24 percent (62,000) from 2018.

“The increase in passengers was driven by citizens from Australia (up 43,000) and the United States (up 12,000). New Zealand citizens increased to 35,000, a 4 percent increase,” population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said.

Australian citizens’ overall share of unique cruise passengers rebounded to 49 percent in 2019, from 44 percent in 2018 and 50 percent in 2017. United States citizens accounted for 20 percent, New Zealand citizens 11 percent, and United Kingdom citizens 6 percent. Collectively, Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom have made up about three-quarters of all passengers during the 2015–19 period.

Auckland and Dunedin ports had the largest number of passengers. In the June 2019 year, Auckland received 239,000 passengers, up 13 percent (28,000), while Dunedin received 238,000, up 32 percent (58,000). Tauranga recorded the largest increase in the number of passengers up 75,000 (49 percent) to 227,000.

The Government Statistician authorises all statistics and data we publish.

For more information about these statistics:

• Visit Cruise ship traveller and expenditure statistics: Year ended June 2019

• See CSV files for download

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