Carnival Australia’s five ship spectacular in Sydney Harbour today is a powerful reminder of the growing contribution of the cruise industry to the Australian economy and the need to secure the infrastructure to keep it growing, said the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF).
“Where else on Earth can you put on a show like Sydney does when it welcomes a fleet of cruise ships into one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbours?” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.
“Australians love big ships and there is nothing like the gathering of a fleet of them to bring the crowds to the foreshore to watch these majestic liners sail into Sydney Harbour.
“The cruise industry continues to be one of the great success stories for Australian tourism – strong growth for over a decade including during the heights of the GFC.
“The Australian cruise industry has grown to a $3.5 billion industry this year with more than one million Australians taking a cruise holiday – a whopping six years ahead of the original forecast.”
Ms Osmond said the continuing growth of the cruise industry could not be taken for granted and further work needed to be done to secure supportive infrastructure on the eastern side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in future years.
“More demand for cruise holidays means bigger cruise ships but those ships can’t get under the Harbour Bridge to access White Bay Terminal.
“That leaves the Overseas Passenger Terminal as the only berth on the eastern side of the Bridge for big ships and demand to use that facility is rising rapidly.
“A lack of access to supporting infrastructure means more cruise ships will be forced to anchor in the middle of the harbour and experience shows that visitors are less likely to come ashore and spend their money in the city if cruise ships can’t berth and allow visitors to come and go freely.
“The solution is to develop a fair sharing arrangement with the Navy to allow cruise ships to access the infrastructure at Garden Island permitting visitors to disembark directly onto the shore and into the city rather than be transported to White Bay on catamarans and other small craft.
“The cruise industry can reach its full potential and be a huge economic benefit to Australia if we can provide the infrastructure in the Harbour needed to support more ships and importantly bigger ships visiting Australia’s global city.”