The Australian cruise industry is booming and now, there are calls to augment its success by constructing another purpose built port. In the lead up to the release of the official 2014 Australian Cruise Industry Source Market Report, pressure is mounting on port authorities to expand facilities and make the most of the cruise craze.
On May 26 the International Cruise Council of Australasia will unveil its latest industry report at a milestone event held at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal. Cruise industry leaders from across the nation will convene in a bid to lobby for Sydney Harbour’s Garden Island to be opened up as a cruise ship terminal. They’re counting on the report to confirm just how huge the current cruise boom is, as well as highlight the fact that it’s not set to slow down anytime soon.
Six years and counting!
If last year’s figures are anything to go by, Australia will have retained its crown as the world’s fastest growing major passenger source market. In 2013 the Cruise Lines International Association revealed that the number of Aussie cruisers rose by a huge 20%, and it’s not just a one off event. This is the sixth consecutive year that the nation has experience such significant growth.
Destination: Down Under
The country’s newfound infatuation with cruising has led to all the leading lines swiftly sending ships Down Under in a bid to cater to growing demand. P&O has big plans on the horizon, with two new ships set to join its existing trio of Australian based vessels. Carnival has already commissioned a second ship to service Australia throughout the summer season while five Royal Caribbean liners will be sailing Aussie waters in the 2016-17 period, including the hugely anticipated mega-ship, Ovation of the Seas.
Simple supply and demand
Despite the fact that Sydney’s major cruise terminal has just undergone a revamp, industry officials are maintaining that more needs to be done to support ongoing growth. The answer? The construction of more cruise ship terminals! Chief Executive at Carnival Australia Ann Sherry is one well-known name lending her support to the Garden Island cause. She was quick to highlight the fact that just one visit from a single ship can represent a $1 million boost for the local economy. From travel agents, tour operators, tourist attractions and shore excursion suppliers to retail store owners, coffee shops, restaurants and taxi drivers, a myriad of sectors will reap the benefits.
“The industry is already contributing about $3 billion a year to Australian economy, however, a lack of infrastructure on the eastern side of Sydney Harbour Bridge is the biggest constraint to the industry continuing its growth trajectory,” says Sherry.
As well as catering to cumulative cruising demand, the use of Garden Island as a passenger terminal will also play an important role in ensuring that state-of-the-art liners such as Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas can reach Sydney shores. “Studies show that by 2020, almost two-thirds of port calls to Sydney Harbour will be ships that have air draft restrictions and therefore cannot safely navigate under the Harbour Bridge,” explains Sherry. As a terminal situation outside the Harbour Bridge vicinity, Sherry maintains that Garden Island would “support the long-term growth of the industry as the world’s cruise ships get bigger.”
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Jason James, Francisco Martins