The International Cruise Council Australasia today announced the region’s first National Cruise Week as the popularity of cruising surges Down Under.

Billed as “Australia’s largest cruise promotion”, the inaugural National Cruise Week will run from September 3 to 9, 2012, and feature a range of great value cruise deals.

The Cruise Council has launched the local initiative following the ongoing success of similar promotions in the UK and US.

ICCA General Manager Brett Jardine said National Cruise Week would be the largest consumer promotion ever undertaken by the local cruise industry, with 28 ICCA member cruise lines and more than 1000 member travel agents taking part across Australia and New Zealand.

“Throughout National Cruise Week, member cruise lines will offer exclusive deals and spectacular savings only available through ICCA member travel agents,” Mr Jardine said.

According to US sister cruise organisation Cruise Lines International Association which started National Cruise Week in 2005, last year’s event generated $55 million in new sales and more than $7 million in commissions across North America.

“Having seen the success of similar promotions in the US, we know how valuable an event of this scale is to the local cruise industry,” Mr Jardine said.

“As Australia is one of the fastest growing cruise markets in the world, we have high hopes for the inaugural National Cruise Week and believe it will help drive sales even further as we enter the region’s largest cruise season.”

ICCA member travel agents are being urged to hold a range of events to mark the first National Cruise Week including afternoon teas, barbeques, film nights and online promotions.