Land of Oz has more cruisers per capita than any other nation in the world
According to the Melbourne Herald Sun – a greater percentage of people from Australia have taken a cruise than any other population in the world. Australia now tops the world for cruise market growth and "penetration of the population", according to the 2013 Cruise Industry Source Market Report released last week.
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For the first time, the percentage of Aussies who choose to cruise for their holiday surpassed North America, making Australia the world's number one cruise market per capita. Their reward for their allegiance will be bigger and better ships arriving Down Under.
A record number of ships will be based in Australia for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, including some of the biggest ships from and fleets of cruise lines like P&O, Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises.
The biggest ship yet that will reach the shores of Australia will be Explorer of the seas scheduled to arrive in 2015. In 2013, the equivalent of 3.6 per cent of the Australian population, 833,348 people, took a cruise, compared to the equivalent of 3.3 per cent of the North American population. Now it’s predicted that by 2016, that figure will leap to 1 million as more ships set sail in Australian waters. Amazingly enough, the total population of Australia is only 22 million people about two thirds the number of people who live in California.
In fact, the "one million cruises per year" point was originally projected to be reached in 2020, but an influx of new cruise ships and the huge response to cruise vacations has moved that projection forward and now estimates are for 2016, four years earlier.
The growth included a 25-percent rise in river cruises as almost 50,000 Australians took to inland waterways. The River cruise lines that are popular with Australians include APT, Avalon Waterways, Scenic Tours, Evergreen, Travelmarvel, Cruiseco, Uniworld and Viking River.
According to Gavin Smith, chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association Australasia, Australia was “punching well above its weight” in the international cruise industry.
“Australia is still a relatively young cruise market, yet the number of Australians taking a cruise has grown by an enviable average 20 per cent a year for the last 11 years as a growing number of travelers discover the many joys of cruising,” he said as he launched the 2013 Cruise Industry Source Market Report.
“With more ships being deployed in Australia in 2014 and 2015, we’ve set course for continued growth over the next few years, so the benchmark of one million annual cruise passengers should be reached by 2016, if not before.”
CLIA general manager Brett Jardine said the phenomenal growth in the Australian cruising market had even taken the cruise industry by surprise. The 20% growth rate was more than double other key markets including Germany and France, which grew 9 per cent, the US (3 per cent) and the UK/Ireland (1 per cent).
Jardine also said that many returned passengers accounted for the high percentage. “Once people have tried it once, they’ll come back again,” he said.
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His advice to first-time cruisers is “Talk to a cruise specialist travel agent. There’s so much choice, it’s important to find the right one, and cruise specialists know what’s out there.”
Australians account for 70-percent of those cruising within the Pacific region, while the Mediterranean is Australia’s favorite long-haul destination to go cruising. Northern European cruises, such as the Baltic Sea and Norwegian fjord cruises saw growth of more than 50-percent, while Alaskan cruises have made a comeback after hitting a peak in 2008. Asia also bounced back in popularity, Mr. Jardine said.