Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) CEO, Michael Johnson has welcomed the first international cruise ship to arrive at an Australian port in more than two years.
On hand to welcome P&O Australia’s Pacific Explorer as it cruised into Sydney Harbour, Mr Johnson said while it will obviously take time to return to pre-pandemic levels of passengers, the first cruise liner to return was another great step on the road to recovery.
Prior to the onset of the pandemic, cruise ships were docked in Sydney for 357 days of 2018, providing 1.37 million passenger visitor days and 147,000 crew visit days, with a combined spend of more than $1.2billion on food, drinks, retail and pre-and post-cruise hotel accommodation.
“The cruise ship industry contributes billions of dollars each year to the Australian economy and supports thousands of jobs in the accommodation sector,” Mr Johnson said.
“This will be the first of many cruise liners to return which are great for CBD hotels which have been doing it tough for so long.
“But the benefits are much more wide spread for the visitor economies of other parts of NSW, such as Eden and Newcastle, which also benefit every time one of these liners docks.
The last full year of cruising statistics, 2018/19, saw nearly one in every 17 Aussies, or 5.8 per cent of the population, taking a cruise with NSW representing more than half the Australian ocean cruise market.
Cruise ships were docked in Sydney for 357 days of 2018, providing 1.37 million passenger visitor days and 147,000 crew visit days, with a combined spend of more than $1.2billion on food, drinks, retail and accommodation.
Meanwhile across the Tasman, the New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA) is warning that the country risks losing millions of dollars unless the Government can confirm as soon as possible when our maritime borders will reopen.
The association says the continuing lack of certainty on the future of the cruise sector is also putting at risk hundreds of ailing tourism businesses that support the cruise sector around the country.
NZCA Chair, Debbie Summers said the impact will fall most heavily on regions which rely on income from cruise ships in the summer months, especially while international tourism is still recovering.
Prior to the pandemic, the cruise sector added $550 million to New Zealand’s economy – equal to the entire Business and Events sector.
“The continuing silence from Government on reopening the maritime borders is squandering the enormous contribution that the New Zealand cruise sector could make in providing desperately needed revenue to help regional tourism operators survive into 2023,” Ms Summers said.
“New Zealand has already lost 250 port calls and around $150 million in revenue due to the uncertainty on when the border will open.
“Cruise lines need time to plan their schedules for the 2022-23 cruise season and time is rapidly running out.
“More than 80 countries around the world are now open to cruise, including Australia. We know there is considerable pent up demand among travellers for cruise, but international cruise lines are unwilling to put New Zealand on their list because we are still closed.”
“In the more than two years since our borders closed, New Zealand has lost over a billion dollars. This can’t continue. We cannot lose another cruise season without a serious breakdown in our ability to service all visitors to New Zealand,” Ms Summers said.
Ms Summers said that cruise is now well recognised as leading the way with COVID health measures with all passengers and crew are vaccinated and regularly tested, ventilation enhanced and extensive proven health measures on board.
“The Government must announce urgently when the maritime border will open or we will continue to see yet more cancellations, and we will all miss out on the vital opportunities that cruise offers to our communities,” she said.