Australians love affair with ocean cruising grows stronger by the year.
The number of Australians taking ocean cruises worldwide in 2015 has swelled by almost 15 per cent to a record 1,058,781 passengers.
But, as australiancruisingnews.com noted some months ago China has overtaken Australia when it comes to growth. The fast emerging China market has shown a 40 per cent growth – the highest for an international cruise region – and Australia’s growth rate of almost 15 per cent is the second highest.
The South Pacific maintained its position as the favourite cruise destination for Australians, attracting more than one-third of ocean cruise passengers (almost 384,000), while the Australian coastline is the second favourite place for cruising. Europe remained the leading long-haul destination in 2015.
Over the same time frame the number of Australians taking an ocean cruise in Asian waters jumped 71 per cent from 55,000 in 2014 to 95,000 in 2015.
A surge in domestic cruises helped drive up Australian ocean cruise passenger numbers with a 42 per cent hike to almost 270,000 local passengers cruising in Australian waters.
These new ocean cruise figures from the 2015 Australian Cruise Industry Source Market report by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia, and reveals that 135,000 more Australians took a cruise in 2015 than in the previous year.
CLIA Australasia’s new chairman, Steve Odell, says the strong Australian growth is a response to the increasing array of cruises on offer in 2015.
“We’ve seen a range of new shorter coastal cruises sailing from Australian homeports and these have clearly captured the imagination of Australians who see those cruises as a new way to explore their nation,” Mr Odell says.
“What’s more, many of these cruises are calling at regional ports around the coastline, creating a lot of chatter and enticing more Australians to try a holiday at sea, while injecting valuable dollars into local economies.”
Mr Odell said the expanding range of cruise options in Asia is also tempting Australians, with new itineraries available in China, Japan and Singapore.
“Whether they are on a 4-day cruise to a Queensland island or a 14 day voyage exploring exotic ports of Asia, more Australians are discovering that cruising is easy, relaxing, and a great value way to holiday.”