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Back the boats delivering accom half a billion dollars, urges peak body

Australia’s cruise industry is delivering almost half a billion dollars to accom venues annually, according to new data.

An economic impact assessment report released this week by the nation’s two leading cruise bodies shows the sector is the biggest beneficiary of passengers’ onshore spending, receiving $450 million or 33.3 percent of traveller spend.

The report by Cruise Lines International Association and the Australian Cruise Association reinforces the economic importance of the cruise industry to tourism nationwide.

Dean Long, CEO of the Accommodation Association, said the findings highlight that cruises are a “valuable driver of pre and post accommodation stays where ships are home ported”.

But he said the report also highlights the urgent need for more port space in Sydney.

“The report reinforces that Australia remains very appealing as a cruise destination, with destinations such as Brisbane, Cairns, Broome and Eden already benefiting from recent investments in port infrastructure,” he said.

“However, it also shows that New South Wales, particularly Sydney, while a key beneficiary of cruise tourism, recorded a 23 percent decline in cruise ship visits in 2018-19, in part due to a lack of berthing facilities for larger ships”.

In September, the NSW Government announcement it was pushing ahead with plans for a third cruise terminal for Sydney, naming two potential sites in Botany Bay despite objections from local residents about possible environmental, Indigenous culture and airport safety impacts.

Mr Long backed the state government’s determination to deliver the new harbour terminal, saying it would “provide certainty and confidence to the Sydney market and deliver commensurate growth in overnight stays”.

“Overall the findings point to the positive economic impact of cruising and the importance of long-term infrastructure planning if growth in the cruise industry and the visitor economy in Australia is to be sustained,” he said.

State ministers have invited the cruise industry to provide input on the proposed Sydney sites at Molineux Point and Yarra Bay.

Randwick Council is meanwhile investing $50,000 on a study into “the potential socio-economic and environmental impacts” of a cruise ship terminal.

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