A record number of more than 254,000 passengers and almost 92,000 crew visited New Zealand between August 2015 and June 2016.
‘This represents a phenomenal growth of 26% which translates to an injection of NZ$484m into the economy,’ the outgoing chairman of Cruise New Zealand, Kevin O’Sullivan, told delegates at this year’s annual conference in Wellington.
O’Sullivan, who has been appointed CNZ’s executive officer, said the country welcomed nine new ships during the 2015-16 season and that the annual Cruise New Zealand Economic Impact Report forecasts even stronger growth for the future.
‘The 2016-17 cruise season starts again at the end of this month and we expect to welcome 11 ships new to New Zealand and another three new ships are scheduled for the following season,’ he said.
‘Although we are expecting to experience a slight dip in passenger numbers despite this new capacity in 2016-17, it will rise by 11% to a new record in the 2017-18 season.’
He said the dip in the coming season is almost entirely due to the exit of P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Pearl which had previously operated during the winter months.
‘What is exciting about the 2016-17 cruise season is that the ships will make 791 port visits, an increase of 13% on 2015-16,’ he said.
He said the cruise sector will not only inject a projected NZ$490m into New Zealand’s GDP and support 8,878 jobs in the coming season, it will also spread the tourism dollar to regions less frequented by international travellers.
It is predicted that the total number of passengers will be 282,538 in 2017-18, injecting NZ$536m into the economy.