Cruise ships pump millions into the economies of the countries and ports they visit.
Cruise ships pump millions into the economies of the countries and ports they visit.

The accommodation industry benefited financially to the tune of around $450 million in revenue from travellers staying either side of a cruise holiday, according to a new study into the economic impact of the cruise industry in Australia.

According to the Economic Impact Assessment compiled jointly by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the Australian Cruise Association (ACA) – the industry’s ocean-side and land-side advocacy organisations – accommodation’s take from cruise passengers made up 33.3% of the total spend from cruise holidaymakers.

Foreign-based cruise travellers were the most lucrative, spending $569 per person per day on average prior to or following their cruise voyage. Australian tourists were only moderately behind, parting with an average of $436 each per day. Aside from accommodation, travellers spent their money on transport, retail, excursions or tours and entertainment.

L-R Dean Long, AAoA and Michael Johnson, TAA

Cruise ship crew members were also spending their money onshore during port visits, spending an average of $173 each per day while in port.

All up, total economic activity from cruise travellers equated to $5.2 billion in both direct and indirect output, with the latter including things such as money spent by cruise lines on food, wine and other local produce along with fuel, port fees and administration.

Accommodation Association of Australia CEO, Dean Long, said it greatly supported the findings of the study, saying cruising was a valuable driver of pre and post-voyage hotel stays.

“The report reinforces that Australia remains very appealing as a cruise destination, with destinations such as Brisbane, Cairns, Broome and Eden already benefiting from recent investments in port infrastructure.”

He added that while Sydney remained popular for cruise ships, visitation had declined 23% due to a lack of suitable port facilities capable of catering to larger ships unable to fit underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

A Royal Caribbean ship leaves Sydney Harbour.

Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO, Michael Johnson, said the TAA was actively working with the NSW state government to ensure action is being taken to rectify the matter.

“NSW still received the greatest share of direct expenditure from the cruise industry but TAA is concerned there will be a flattening out unless Sydney’s infrastructure constraints on the industry are addressed.

“While the report shows Australia as a whole remains attractive as a cruise ship destination, and that cities like Brisbane, Broome and Cairns are benefiting from infrastructure investment, TAA has real concerns about the need of more berthing space in Sydney.”

The Economic Impact Assessment was compiled by AEC Group based on 1,240 cruise ship port visits in Australia over the course of the 2018-19 financial year.