Cruise

Revealed: Who will replace CLIA’s Steve Odell?

Lauren Croft

At CLIA’s annual Source Market Report announcement yesterday, Australasia Chair Steve Odell announced he was stepping down from his position – citing that he wore a tie especially for this occasion.

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve as the chair of CLIA Australasia during an exciting couple of years for the local cruise industry.

“I wish Sture every success as he takes the reins and continues CLIA Australasia’s great work in advocating on behalf of the industry and promoting awareness of cruising holidays in Australia and New Zealand,” Odell said, before announcing the report findings.

Odell will be replaced by Sture Myrmell (pictured below), who became President of P&O Cruises Australia in 2016, and was also named President of Carnival Australia in late 2017.

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 12.32.21 pm

Myrmell said he was excited about the new role.

“I’m looking forward to working with the Association’s executive committee to continue its great work in raising the profile of cruising in the region and ensuring cruising remains the standout success story of the local tourism industry,” he said.

Speaking for the last time about CLIA’s Source Market Report, Odell said that Australian cruising passenger numbers were at an all time high – with over 1.34 million Aussies cruising in 2017.

“For the past 10 years we have been talking about the tremendous growth trajectory for our region. Australians are overwhelmingly choosing cruise as their holiday of choice,” he said.

“Cruising has become the modern Australian holiday.”

To construct this year’s report, CLIA developed a global database called One Resource, which holds the five key dimensions representing cruise passengers.

Non-CLIA member’s passenger data was also collected for the report to represent the average Aussie cruiser more accurately.

The report showed that the average age of the Aussie cruiser is 49, and the average age is older on longer itineraries like Alaska or Transatlantic cruises. When cruising closer to home on Australia and South Pacific itineraries, the average age is lower.

But although CLIA maintained that cruising had become the quintessential modern Australian holiday, Odell said that these high numbers “are a warning.”

“The cruising’s infrastructure problem shows that we’ve reached capacity in this country. And the warning bells are ringing ever-louder,” he said.

“The local industry faces a lot of constraints for growth because of the lack of infrastructure right around Australia, as well as the regulatory policy that hinders the development of cruising.”

Had the space allowed, some cruising companies would have sent larger ships to Australia, therefore increasing their profits.

Resolving these issues is still the main priority for CLIA going forwards – and during the announcement, representatives from the Port Authority said that whilst no cruise ships have been turned away per say, the industry can’t quantify how much it’s lost.

“There are undoubtedly cruise lines that are trying to get in that are finding it difficult, but it’s difficult for [us] to say who would’ve come if there [was] more capacity,” they said.

The infrastructure concerns, of course, put in danger the goal of having two million Australian’s cruising by 2020, which Carnival Australia CEO, Ann Sherry, predicted in 2007.

Last year, it was predicted that to reach this goal, five or six extra cruise ships would be needed in Sydney – which Odell said could not happen with the current infrastructure restraints.

“There’s no more room for big ships in Sydney,” he said.

He said that bringing smaller ships to Sydney that could fit under the Harbour Bridge could be a possible solution, but the ships that are being built are only getting bigger.

“International customers want Sydney in their itinerary, so it’s a critical problem. Now, for the first time, we’re seeing working progress. [But] we will not make the two million by 2020.”



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