Experts say new Sydney Harbour cruise terminal will help maximise economic growth for NSW

Sydney, New South Wales Australia - December 24 2021: Two Naval Ships Behind Finger Wharf in Sydney Australia

Following a 14.5 per cent drop in NSW’s economic share from the cruise industry, industry experts are calling for a new cruise terminal in Sydney Harbour now more than ever.

The transport minister, Jo Haylen recently pulled the pin on a new terminal at Garden Island largely due to it being the city’s major Naval base, though business figures say it can be done, and has happened before.

Another possible location for the new terminal is Athol Bay, which is already used as a ‘waiting bay’ where ships temporally dock until they can access the overseas passenger terminal.

The key worry for industry figures in NSW is the 10.1 per cent increase in the QLD share of cruising economic output, while the home of the Harbour City dropped 14.5 per cent, although still holds most of the market share. NSW recorded the biggest benefit from cruising with a total economic impact of A$2.75 billion, or 48.8 per cent) of the national total, supporting 8,908 full time equivalent jobs.

The NSW Port Authority has looked at options outside of the CBD, but many believe that Sydney Harbour must be the location of a new terminal.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Paul Nicolaou from Business Sydney said tourists want to arrive at the iconic Sydney Harbour rather than suggested alternatives like Port Kembla.

“With international tourism still lagging below pre-pandemic levels, Sydney needs all the international visitors it can attract and that includes seafaring tourists who arrive in our city on board cruise ships,” he said.

“While it might not be popular with the Navy, the obvious place for the overflow of the larger cruise ships to berth at the peak of the summer cruise season is at Garden Island.

Royal Princess at Sydney Harbour on her maiden season in Australia. (Princess Cruises)

“The issue of berthing capacity is an important one for the industry and we’re encouraged the NSW Government is looking to address this,” MD, Cruise Lines International Association, Joel Katz, said.

“Sydney Harbor is obviously a key attraction.”

Cruise tourism has been a major success story post-COVID in Australia, generating a total of $5.63 billion in economic output during the 2022-23 financial year, an increase of 22.1 per cent on FY 2018-19.

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