(9:40 a.m. AEST) — A record 66,152 New Zealanders took an ocean cruise in 2015, representing a 10 per cent increase in passenger numbers, according to a new report released today.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia’s annual NZ Cruise Industry Source Market Report reveals that New Zealand was one of only three international cruise passenger markets to record a double-digit increase last year, beaten only by Australia and China.
Cruises in NZ, Australia and the South Pacific continued to account for the majority (54 per cent) of local passengers’ cruising, with last year’s strong growth led by an increase in New Zealanders cruising in Australia (up 71 per cent) as well as Asia (up 64 per cent).
CLIA Australasia’s new chairman Steve Odell said the 2015 figures meant the equivalent of 1.4 per cent of the population had taken a cruise last year, with New Zealand now ranked sixth in the world for market penetration ahead of many established cruise nations including Italy (1.3 per cent), Spain (1 per cent) and France (0.9 per cent).
“New Zealand is still an emerging source market but after another year of solid growth, which saw the nation outperform most key markets, it’s clear that cruising is growing in popularity,” Odell said.
“These figures show us that New Zealanders are increasingly recognising cruising as a great value and relaxing way to travel, not only in their backyard but also as part of an overseas trip.”
New Zealand’s ocean cruise passenger market has recorded almost 65 per cent growth over the past five years. The annual source market report is based on data received from CLIA’s cruise line members, which account for more than 95 per cent of the world’s cruise passengers. Australia’s figures will be released on Thursday, with a separate river cruising report to be published later this year.