New Report Finds Australian Cruise Industry Continues to Generate Significant National and Regional Economic Activity
Cruise tourism continues to deliver enormous value to the Australian economy to the tune of nearly $5 billion annually, according to a new assessment of the economic impact of the cruise industry in Australia.
Commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia and the Australian Cruise Association (ACA), the new independent assessment by AEC Group revealed that cruise tourism was worth $4.8 billion to the Australian economy in direct and indirect economic output during the 2017-18 financial year.
The report revealed that 1236 ship visits led to 3.5 million passenger and crew visit days which raised $2.3 billion in direct economic output and $2.5 billion in indirect and induced output, as well as $2.6 billion in value added dollars.
In terms of employment, more than 17,000 full time jobs were supported by the direct expenditure of cruise passengers, crew and cruise lines in Australia, while wages added $1.4 billion to the economy.
In announcing the new collaborative economic impact assessment today, Joel Katz, Managing Director of CLIA Australasia revealed that the new report resets the base assumptions and data collection strategy in line with what is now a significantly more mature local cruise industry, and to align with the needs of local port and destination stakeholders.
Previously, CLIA Australasia and ACA produced separate economic impact reports based on different underlying assumptions and methodologies. In line with a new MOU between CLIA and ACA signed late last year, the two associations worked with AEC Group to redevelop the Australian Economic Impact Assessment report, drawing on additional local data to create a more accurate model that ensures a better understanding of the size, growth and economic significance of cruise tourism in Australia.
“The new economic assessment found that the cruise industry continues to make significant contributions to Australia’s economy and will continue to have a positive economic benefit if the industry is able to achieve sustainable growth in the coming years,” Mr Katz said. “Each year more Australians are choosing a cruise holiday and we’re also seeing more cruise passengers opting to sail in local waters which means they’re spending more time ashore visiting regional ports. This all translates into significant economic benefits for businesses and communities far beyond our ships and ports.
“The industry contributes around $5 billion to Australia’s economy but there is potential for much more. With the nation’s cruise gateways at crisis point, we need to find solutions to capacity constraints to ensure strong economic growth into the future. Australia is one of the world’s most appealing cruise destinations and more Australians cruise than anywhere else in the world. For Australia to cash in on this appeal, we need to make room for more ships. If key ports are full, cruise lines will be discouraged from sending their ships to our shores.”
Jill Abel, CEO of the Australian Cruise Association, said that the numbers provided compelling evidence of the value of the cruise industry and how crucial its continued growth is to the economy.
“In a positive step forward for the industry, ACA and CLIA have worked together to produce a single economic report that supports stakeholders in their efforts to deliver cruise infrastructure projects at ports and destinations around the country,” Ms Abel said.
“As the global cruise industry continues to grow and expand into new destinations, Australia remains a vibrant hub for cruising. We are now seeing this benefit our country’s major gateway cities as well as fast-growing regional ports such as Broome, Cairns and Eden which are benefiting from infrastructure and destination development.”
Other key highlights of the Australian Economic Impact Assessment include:
- Cruise passengers embarking or disembarking spent nearly $1.2 billion in Australian port cities. Transit passengers spent $171 million in the ports they visited.
- Domestic passengers spent $934 million in Australian port destinations, with international passengers spending $257 million.
- Accommodation, transport, food and beverage, and shore excursions, accounted for almost 78 per cent of total passenger onshore expenditures, valued at more than $900 million.
- Retail shopping by passengers onshore accounted for 11.3 per cent of total spend at $134 million.
- On average, an international cruise passenger spent $590 per day, pre or post cruise, and $215 per day in transit ports. Domestic cruise passengers spent $447 per day, pre or post cruise, and $165 per day in transit ports.
- Crew spent $37 million at Australian cruise ports with an average expenditure of $101 per crew visit ashore.
- Operating expenses accounted for 82 per cent of cruise line expenditure with
- port charges, food and beverages, fuel, and travel agent commissions accounting for most (69 per cent) of these costs at $710 million.
- The economic contribution of cruise tourism was concentrated in four states with NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia accounting for 92 per cent of economic output.
- New South Wales was the biggest contributor with almost $2.8 billion flowing into the national economy, followed by Queensland with more than $1 billion, and Victoria and Western Australia with $317 million and $276 million respectively.