New economic analysis by Deloitte Access Economics shows the Australian cruise industry contributed $828.1 million to the national economy in 2010-2011 – an increase of more than 44 percent on its contribution of $576.6 million in 2007-2008.

According to the study commissioned by Carnival Australia the total economic contribution of cruising is highest in NSW ($370.9 million in 2010-11, forecast to be $1.128 billion by 2019-20) and Queensland ($166.4 million in 2010-11, forecast to be $340.8 million in 2019-20).

“The cruise industry has for years been the standout success of the Australian tourism sector and the new study enables us to now quantify its positive economic impact,” Carnival Australia Chief Executive Officer Ann Sherry said.

“In 2011, around half a million Australians took a cruise holiday and we are on course to achieve the goal of a million passengers enjoying a cruise holiday by 2020.”

Some of the major findings of the analysis include:
•    Total cruise expenditure in 2010-2011 was $943.7 million and this is forecast to grow to $2.595 billion by 2019-2020
•    Between 2010-2011 and 2012-2013, average annual passenger growth in the cruise sector is expected to be 32 per cent (based on observed Australian port bookings data)
•    Providing impediments are addressed, annual passenger growth is expected to be seven per cent from 2013-2014 to 2019-2020
•    The Australian cruise sector now represents over four per cent of the global cruise market in terms of passenger numbers compared to less than two per cent five years ago.
•    The cruise sector’s contribution to employment in 2010-2011 was 7,220 (FTE) and this is forecast to grow to 19,841 by 2019-2020

Deloitte Access Economics Director Ric Simes said the Australian cruise sector had experienced strong growth over the last five years and its contribution to national and state economies had also grown signficantly.

“This growth has exceeded previous estimates and, based on the available data, will certainly continue in the medium term,” he said. “In terms of economic activity, cruise tourism’s contribution to national GDP is forecast to double to 0.12 per cent through to 2019-2020.”

The latest analysis further underlines the strength of the Australian cruise industry, which is enjoying an average annual growth rate of more than three times that of the global cruise industry.

“Research shows the local cruise industry has grown by an average 18 per cent in each of the past five years compared with just five per cent for the global industry which means we are the envy of the rest of the world,” Ms Sherry said.

Ms Sherry said the Deloitte Access Economics analysis underlined the need for appropriate investment in port facilities to encourage further growth of the cruise industry and its increasing economic contribution.

This was particularly relevant in Sydney where a ‘three berth solution’ is needed with one berth west of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and two in the eastern harbour.

“The Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney is already at capacity and the need for a permanent shared solution at Garden Island is now critical,” Ms Sherry said. “International cruise ships are less likely to come to Sydney if suitable berthing arrangements are unavailable. If this happens, Australia could miss out on the economic benefits the sector provides.”