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Cruise Sector Earns $365.3m And Still Growing

Cruise Sector Earns $365.3m And Still Growing

The cruise sector contributed a record $365.3 million to New Zealand’s economy in the 2013-14 season and that figure is forecast to swell dramatically to $421.5 million in two years.

The 2015-16 season is expected to bring more cruise passengers to New Zealand ports on bigger ships than ever before, according to a new economic impact report released by Cruise New Zealand.

“If cruise was a country, it would be New Zealand’s fourth largest inbound market, behind Australia, China and the US,” Cruise New Zealand General Manager Raewyn Tan says. “The Asia-Pacific region currently accounts for around 8.4% of the global market, is the world’s fastest growing cruise region and presents a huge opportunity for New Zealand.”

The 2013-14 cruise season saw 202,700 passengers on 33 separate ships which made 119 voyages and spent 699 days at ports around the country. Australians made up the majority of cruise passengers (52%), followed by Americans (17%) and New Zealanders (10%).

Of the season’s total $365.3m spend, passengers accounted for $273m, vessel-related spending was $63.6m and crew-related spend was $28.7m. It is estimated that the cruise sector supported 6818 jobs in New Zealand.

Auckland received the lion’s share of the spend ($159.1m), as it is New Zealand’s key exchange port (where one cruise ends and another starts). An exchange brings more economic benefits than a ‘transit’ visit as passenger expenditure will include airfares and potentially hotel accommodation and travel within New Zealand before or after the cruise. Ships also reprovision for their next cruise during an exchange visit and crew will start or end their contracts.

Other regions also benefit significantly (see table below), depending on the spending opportunities available to passengers.

The coming 2014-15 cruise season is expected to see a small increase in total spending to $373.4m, before a dramatic increase the following season to $421.5m, due to a large increase in passenger numbers to 246,800.

The current outlook for 2015-16 indicates that 119 voyages will spend 652 port days in New Zealand, Ms Tan says. The average vessel passenger capacity per voyage is set to increase from just over 1600 passengers to almost 2000 passengers.

The season is also set to bring the highest number of exchange cruises on record, meaning New Zealand has to be ready to cope, she says.

“We are really excited about the prospects for the cruise sector. But as the ships get larger, we need to think about how to process more people more efficiently. We also need to have infrastructure in place to handle bigger ships to keep us high on the cruise lines’ radar.”

Economic impacts of the cruise sector

RegionTotal Value Add
($m) 2013-14
Forecast Value Add ($m) 2015-16Employment Supported 2013-14
Bay of Plenty$37.7$40.5778
Hawke’s Bay$19.0$16.1392


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