Louise van de Vlierd.
Dunedin tourism operators need to prepare for higher
numbers of "budget Australian" visitors as the cruise-ship
market changes, a group was told yesterday.
About 60 people attended a cruise-ship season debriefing,
during which representatives from Tourism Dunedin, Port
Otago, the Dunedin City Council, Otago Daily Times and
University of Otago reflected on the past season and advised
on the next.
About 135,000 passengers and 60,000 crew, on 84 ships,
visited Dunedin in what was described as a positive season.
About 163,000 passengers and 70,000 crew, on 89 ships, along
with the largest vessel to stop at Port Chalmers, Voyager
of the Seas, were expected from October for the next
Most of those passengers were expected to be Australian.
University of Otago marketing lecturer James Henry said there
had been a "massive swing to the Australian market".
About 71% of cruise passengers to visit Dunedin last season
were Australian, compared with 14% from the United States and
4% from the United Kingdom.
"High-spending Americans are being replaced by budget
Australians," he said.
The age of passengers was also changing, with more families
choosing to cruise.
About 1% of passengers were aged under 26, 11% were in the 26
to 45-year-old bracket, 46% in the 46 to 65-year-old bracket,
and 41% over 65.
Research undertaken by the university revealed passengers
wanted some kind of welcome at the port, although Dr Henry
was unsure if that entailed a Maori welcome or a bagpiper.
"Passengers are looking for a welcome and that's coming out
stronger and stronger. They just want something to say
'Welcome to Dunedin'."
Dunedin Visitor Centre manager Louise van de Vlierd also said
the industry was "changing so much".
"Yes, the numbers have gone up, but the spend has gone down.
A lot of them just don't have the money in their pockets.
Five years ago, price was probably at the bottom of the list,
as far as consideration went. Now, it's 'Isn't there anything
cheaper?'," she said.
Others were concerned with spending long periods of time at
single attractions and found it difficult to understand it
could take three hours to do a wildlife tour on the
Some of the concerns raised by operators during the
debriefing included the need to still break down myths around
what would be open in Dunedin and when, as information
provided to passengers before their arrival could be
incorrect - a photo of a church which was not in the city was
posted on one of the cruise company's websites.
Another concern was around the need to implement a code of
ethics for operators, which was being considered by the
city's cruise action group.
Country of origin
New Zealand 4%
Under 26 1%
Over 65 41%
Source: University of Otago marketing department.