Australians are willing to take to the seas with more than half (55 per cent) considering going on a cruise.
Strong growth in advertising spend from cruise operators is driving consumer enthusiasm, but questions have been raised as to whether Sydney’s infrastructure can support demand.
Last week, it was announced Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas would not be returning down under for the 2018/19 season, while Radiance of the Seas was unable to stay in Sydney as long as it would like.
Tourism & Transport Forum’s CEO Margy Osmond also commented, ““If Sydney is not available as a destination for large cruise liners, the whole country will miss out. We are now on the verge of a cruise crisis.”
If tour operators pull Australian ports from their routes, the current trend in advertising growth could face a sudden change in course.
Adrian Vasile, Associate Director, Travel and Tourism at Nielsen said, “Over the past four years, advertising spend from cruise operators has seen a 58 per cent increase. At the current pace of growth, advertising dollars could reach $79 million in 2017.”
“Spend allocated to international cruises are the wind in its sails, with year-on-year increases of 12 per cent and 18 per cent in 2015 and 2016, respectively. International cruises accounted for almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of advertising spend in 2016,” Vasile added.
Insights from Nielsen’s Ad Intel 2016 highlight that the top six advertisers accounted for 54 per cent of total spend in the cruising category. Over 200 cruising advertisers account for the remainder.
Vasile added, “The biggest spender was Royal Caribbean Cruises which had almost double the expenditure of its nearest competitor. However, this dynamic could shift dramatically with Royal Caribbean Cruises indicating it will limit services to Australia.”