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Australians Sail to Record High for Cruise Industry

8th June 2017

In 2016, Australians spent a whopping 12 million days at sea with over 1.2 million passengers setting sail.

To be exact, there were 1,281,159 Australians who boarded ocean cruises in 2016, according to the Cruise Lines International Association Australasia’s (CLIA) 2016 Australian Ocean Passenger Cruise Industry Source Market Report.

CLIA Australasia’s managing director Joel Katz said, “That’s one in 10 Australians taking a cruise, making this the highest per capita ratio in the world.”

A 21 per cent increase from 2015, this was also the largest rise in passenger numbers on record. As a whole, Australia was the fifth largest market in the world, accounting for 5.2 per cent of global cruise passengers.

Where are we cruising?

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The South Pacific is Australia’s favourite cruise destination, accounting for 42 per cent of passengers (542,825). We also loved to cruise around our own country (26%) and New Zealand (8.3%), making close to home cruises by far the most popular.

“With many of these local cruises calling at 34 regional ports and anchorages around the Australian coastline, local communities benefit from the injection of valuable tourist dollars into the local economies,” Mr Katz said.

Of long haul cruise destinations, Europe was the most popular (7%) and Asia (6.7%). Alaska, a long-standing favourite with Australian cruisers, saw a 25.5 per cent increase in Australian passengers in 2016. Similarly, round-the-world cruises, while only accounting for 1.5 per cent of the Australian market, saw a huge growth of 82.9 per cent on the previous year.

Who is cruising?

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Not surprisingly, New South Wales was the biggest source of Australian cruisers, accounting for 40.8 per cent (522,922) in 2016. Queensland came in second with a record number 3014,736 (23.8%), while Victoria was third, contributing 16.8 per cent of cruisers (215,817).

Australian cruisers come from all demographics, thanks to the wide variety of cruise styles and destinations now available. The largest market are passengers aged 40 and below (31.2%), followed by seniors: 70+ 15.6%, 66-70 10.4%, and 61-65 9.9%.

How long are we cruising for?

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We might have spent 12.1 million days at sea, but the average cruise duration for Australian travellers in 2016 was just 9.4 days. In fact 89.3 per cent of Australian cruisers booked on trips of 14 days or less.

8-14 day cruises accounted for 50.1 per cent of the market; 5-7 day cruises accounted for 19.9 per cent; and 1-4 day cruises soared in popularity by 59.7 per cent, accounting for 19.3 per cent of the market in 2016.

CLIA Australia’s Mr Katz said the growing capacity and wide variety of cruising options were “capturing the imagination of Australians, with more Australians discovering that cruising is an easy, relaxing and value-for-money way to holiday”.


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