42% rise in cruise visitors

A record number of cruise ships will visit Dunedin this season, pumping tens of millions of dollars into the local economy.

With both cruise-ship numbers and vessels' capacity expanding, passenger numbers to Dunedin are projected to rise from 86,000 last season to 122,000 this season, a rise of 42%.

The arrival of the Sapphire Princess on October 19 heralds the start of the 2010-11 season, with 68 visits scheduled for Dunedin and even more scheduled next season.

The previous record was 64 visits in 2008-09, three more than last season.

A cruise-ship industry report this week said the cruise-ship market was tipped to become the country's third largest inbound tourism market next season, topped only by Australian and United Kingdom arrivals.

The report, commissioned by Cruise New Zealand, shows the industry was expected to inject $346 million into the New Zealand economy over the 2011-12 season.

"New Zealand is now an established cruise destination and will continue to benefit from global growth," Cruise NZ chairman Craig Harris said.

However, growth could be limited unless investment in cruise-ship infrastructure was carried out, particularly providing a terminal for Auckland, to accommodate vessels with more than 2000 passengers.

"We are stretched to capacity. The warning bell is sounding and we have to start paying attention to this industry."

The issue in Otago centred on larger vessels, which raised questions over wharf capacity, shelter and the transporting of visitors, he said.

Tourism Dunedin chief executive Hamish Saxton said infrastructure challenges were not about the port, but "getting passengers from A to B".

Dunedin rated as the second busiest port after Auckland in terms of passenger numbers, and was either the first or last New Zealand port of call for vessels, Mr Saxton said.

For the 2011-12 season, passengers and crew were forecast to inject $40 million into the Dunedin economy, and it was an important market for the city, he said.

Research indicated cruise-ship passengers, of which nearly 50% were from Australia, treated their voyage as a "reconnaissance" of the country, with many likely to return.

Surprised at his accomplishments.
Surprised at his accomplishments.

- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz


Add a Comment