The Australian cruise sector has grown more than 10 per cent in total value to the national economy, according to a new industry report.
Cruise tourism contributed $5.2 billion in direct and indirect output during the 2018–19 financial year, figures released in the latest annual Economic Impact Assessment show.
Last year, Australia hosted 1,240 cruise ship visits, and 3.8 million passenger and crew visit days; these resulted in direct spending of $2.5 billion by cruise lines, crew, and passengers combined.
The report, commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the Australian Cruise Association (ACA), reveals the Australian cruise industry has shown an 11.2 per cent increase in its total value.
Driving the economic impact is cruise passenger spending, CLIA Australasia managing director Joel Katz said.
“Total cruise passenger spending in 2018–19 increased 17.4 per cent on the previous year to reach almost $1.4 billion,” Katz said.
“Cruise passengers now spend an average of $387 each for every day they’re on shore in Australia, which provides enormous benefits to businesses like hotels, restaurants, tour operators and retailers.”
Cruise lines, crew, and passengers contributed to $2.5 billion in direct spending last financial year; while the indirect and induced economic output of transactions was as high as $2.8 billion.
Combined, this equates to cruise tourism contributing $5.2 billion in national economic impact.
The accommodation sector was the biggest beneficiary from cruise passengers, receiving $450 million or 33.3 per cent of their combined spend, according to the report.
While the food and beverage sector accounted for almost $274 million or 20.3 per cent of passenger spend, followed by transport ($196 million, 14.5 per cent), retail ($159 million, 11.7 per cent), shore excursions ($133 million, 9.8 per cent), and entertainment ($59 million, 4.4 per cent).
NSW received the greatest share of direct expenditure from the cruise industry, receiving $1.55 billion including $1.54 billion in Sydney. Among other states, Queensland received direct expenditure of $490 million, followed by Victoria ($168 million), Western Australia ($109 million), South Australia ($67 million), Tasmania ($49 million), and the Northern Territory ($31 million).
Katz said the cruise industry had defied current berthing constraints in Sydney to achieve growth in its national economic contribution.
“A lack of available berthing space in Sydney has made it difficult for the cruise industry to increase its capacity in Australia, but this has been countered by significant increases in the amount of spending by cruise passengers,” he said.