The cruise industry has argued the new price structure announced yesterday for cruise ships visiting Sydney Harbour goes “well beyond” cost recovery (Travel Today, yesterday).
The new $20 per passenger fee would take costs from an average $5,000 today to around $70,000 by 2015.
Carnival Australia chief executive Ann Sherry acknowledged the cruise industry should pay its “fair share” but insisted the 14-fold increase on ship turnaround costs would cement Australia’s position as the world’s most expensive cruise destination.
“The fee is a significant new burden for the one good news story in the local tourism industry and goes well beyond cost recovery,” she said.
But Sherry welcomed Minister Duncan Gay’s commitment to work closely with industry to ensure the sector’s continued growth.
“To this end we look forward to the NSW government doing all it can to encourage the Federal Government to open up shared access to Garden Island,” she said.
Meanwhile, Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive John Lee branded the new charge a “tax on success”.
“It comes at a time when the cruise ship industry faces a 17% increase in the federal government’s passenger movement charge, so in the space of a month it has been whacked twice by governments,” he said.
Lee highlighted the growing challenge to the Australian cruise sector in the form of increasingly competitive Asian ports and urged the government to consult with industry to find an alternative solution.