More than 1.34 million Australians are taking an ocean cruise in 2017, with CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz saying that cruising has become the new trend for Australian holiday. Namely, the country remains the only market in the world to surpass a 4% population penetration rate, well ahead of more mature markets.


The growth wasn’t as dramatic as recent years, but it was more than two and a half times higher than the rate of Australia’s inbound holiday arrivals growth rate of 1.7%. This amount puts Australia on level terms with the world’s largest cruise market, the USA, which experienced growth of 4.7%, and was well ahead of more established cruise markets such as Europe (up 2.5%), and the UK and Ireland (up 0.5%).

Credit: CLIA Australasia

The report also revealed that Australians still spend most of their time cruising local waters with the South Pacific (35%) and Australia (34%) accounting for the most cruise passengers.

Katz said one of the great success stories of the booming cruise industry was seeing valuable cruise dollars spread right around Australia’s vast coastline.

Mr. Katz noted:

With about one third of Australian cruise passengers embarking on an Australian itinerary in 2017, regional economies continued to reap the benefits of cruise tourism. As long as infrastructure and regulatory policy allows, we will increasingly see vessels homeporting outside of Sydney in cities including Brisbane, Melbourne, Fremantle and Adelaide, and visiting regional ports such as Broome, Eden, Geraldton and Gladstone, to cater to this demand.

Other key findings of the 2017 Ocean Passenger Cruise Industry Source Market Report include:

  • Australasia accounted for 5.4% of global cruise passenger numbers and as a region with a comparatively small population, is punching well above its weight in the cruise stakes
  • Asia remained the most popular long-haul fly-cruise destination for Australian cruisers accounting for 7.3% of travellers, followed by the Mediterranean (4.6%) and Alaska (2.8%).
  • The youngest average age demographic for Australian cruisers (44 years-old) was found on South Pacific and Caribbean cruises, while the oldest average age (67 years-old) was found on longer expedition itineraries.
  • Global statistics showed that Australasia was an attractive cruise destination for international visitors with around 200,000 people travelling to the region for a cruise holiday, mostly from the USA (87,000), and the United Kingdom (21,000).

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