The record result confirms Australia’s position as the world’s fastest growing source of cruise passengers, with numbers surging 20.4 per cent last year to reach 1,003,256 cruisers.
The landmark achievement of one million passengers in a calendar year comes six years before originally anticipated, and has been driven by an impressive 20 per cent annual average growth for the past 12 years.
The new figures also show Australia has retained its position as the world leader for market penetration, with the equivalent of 4.2 per cent of Australians taking a cruise last year, significantly ahead of the well-established North American market, which ranked second with a market penetration rate of 3.4 per cent.
Released in Sydney on 26 May at the newly refurbished Overseas Passenger Terminal, the 2014 Australian Cruise Industry Source Market Report is produced by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia, based on data received from its cruise line members, which account for more than 95 per cent of the world’s cruise passengers.
Speaking at the report launch, CLIA Australasia Chairman Gavin Smith said Australians’ enthusiasm for cruising was unparalleled around the world, with France the only other major world market to achieve double digit growth (13.6 per cent) in 2014.
Mr Smith said Australia’s achievement of 20.4 per cent growth represented an increase of 170,000 passengers compared to 2013, the largest rise in real numbers since CLIA first began collating passenger data in 2002. Australia is now the fourth largest source market in the world for cruise passengers, accounting for 4.5 per cent of world cruisers, behind North America (54.2 per cent), Germany (8 per cent) and UK/Ireland (7.4 per cent).
“These figures show that more and more Australians are realising that cruising is an easy, relaxing way to holiday which represents incredible value for money,” Mr Smith said. “The expansion of our industry in recent years means there’s now a huge range of ships and itineraries on offer across the globe and I think Australians, who are inveterate travellers, are responding by increasingly factoring a cruise into their holiday plans.”
“Five years ago, the industry thought that it might be possible to achieve one million passengers a year by 2020 – to reach that number in 2014 is an amazing result and shows the true passion Australians have for cruise holidays. If our growth rate continues at just 12.5 per cent for the next six years, we will reach two million passengers by 2020,” Mr Smith said.
Key findings of CLIA Australasia’s 2014 Australian Cruise Industry Source Market Report include:
- The most popular cruise destination for Australians is the South Pacific, attracting more than 390,000 passengers (39 per cent of the market)
- Cruises from domestic ports to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific accounted for 67 per cent of Australian passengers in 2014 (671,030 cruisers)
- The continuing popularity of Europe saw the region become Australians’ third most popular ocean cruise destination accounting for 93,529 cruisers
- River cruising numbers surged by more than 60 per cent to 79,530
- The arrival of new ships in Asia prompted a 25 per cent increase in Australian passengers cruising in the region, with numbers rising to more than 55,000
- Cruises of 8-14 days duration remain the most popular attracting 54 per cent of passengers, although shorter cruises of up to four days experienced a 59 per cent surge in numbers
- NSW remains the largest source of cruise passengers, accounting for 41 per cent of the market
- Australians spent an estimated 10 million days at sea in 2014, cruising for an average 9.7 days on ocean cruises and 13 days on river cruises.