Cruising industry gets it’s ‘mojo’ back: Travellers flock to ships, boosting Australian economy

Mar 16, 2023
Cruise bosses excited for the return in numbers to the industry. Source: getty

Cruising is experiencing a significant boom, with industry leaders eagerly anticipating a return to prosperity for the $5 billion economy-boosting sector.

Since cruising reopened a year ago, the recent summer season has seen a surge in travellers flocking to enjoy the experience of these floating hotels. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) expects this growth to continue throughout the year.


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The boom back to cruising is a welcome sight as the industry was shut down in March 2020 during the global pandemic, officially reopening to Australians in March 2022.

On top of the estimated $5 billion to the Australian economy, cruising also provides support for around 18,000 jobs across various sectors, including food supply and engineering.

“We have welcomed more than 40 international cruise ships to Australian waters over the 2022-23 season and by next summer we expect to see around 60 ships – the same level of activity we saw prior to the pandemic,” CLIA managing director of Australasia Joel Katz said.

“Globally, cruise passenger volumes are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023 and the Australian market is showing every sign that it too has embraced the worldwide cruising revival.

“Cruise tourism brings economic opportunities to ports and destinations right around the country, including many regional areas and remote communities.

“It benefits a huge range of local businesses, like travel agents, tour operators, hotels, restaurants and retailers, plus a whole spectrum of suppliers like transport workers, farmers, food and beverage providers, entertainers, port workers and maritime service providers.”

The effects of the cruise industry’s renaissance are being felt in major Australian cities like Sydney, as business executives say its “mojo” has been restored.

“The return of cruise ships has helped restore a sense of excitement, attracted local people back to the city and added to the tourism economy with visits from thousands of international cruise passengers,” Business Sydney executive director Paul Nicolaou said.

The summer boom in the industry is linked to the 2023 “wave season”, where from the beginning of January to the end of March, cruise lines and travel agents offer massive savings and deals, leading to a giant “wave” of bookings.

Historically, Australia has been recognized as one of the most enthusiastic markets for cruising globally.

In the year 2019, over 1.2 million Australians embarked on ocean cruises, which accounted for 4.8 per cent of the country’s population, or nearly one out of every 20 Australians.


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