Cruise industry to create 190 jobs

Peter Brown
Peter Brown
The burgeoning cruise-ship industry will create almost 200 additional jobs for Dunedin by next season - but future growth could be curtailed unless the industry is better catered for, a report finds.

The New Zealand Regional Cruise Industry Study, released yesterday by Cruise New Zealand, shows established cruise-ship regions such as Otago, Canterbury, Wellington and Auckland are forecast to grow significantly.

More than 175,000 cruise-ship passengers and crew movements were recorded at Port Chalmers in 2009-10, and this was expected to increase to 306,000 next season.

The value-added impact of the cruise industry for the region was predicted to grow from $16.5 million in 2009-10 to $28 million in 2011-12, creating an additional 190 jobs - mostly in the retail, exchange activity, tourism and transport sectors.

However, the report warns local government and businesses should plan how to cater for growth, such as additional coaches, guides, excursion capacity and port handling facilities.

"Each port needs to be careful to provide sufficient services as capacity issues may cause cruise ships to switch to other ports and stops," the report notes.

Port Otago commercial manager Peter Brown said the industry was a small but important contributor to Port Chalmers' overall revenue, while recognising it was a working container port.

Port Otago had improved facilities during the past two years, including covered areas to access shuttles, a new walkway, improved signs and upgraded toilet facilities.

The port was fortunate the majority of cruise activity was on the Beach St wharf, enabling container terminal operations to continue unaffected, he said.

The port had been working with other stakeholders, such as Tourism Dunedin and tourism operators, to develop a "road map" for the growing cruise-ship industry.

"We all recognise that we need to maintain a pro-active approach to this industry and not rest on our laurels.

"We are all committed to raising service delivery to cruise ships and passengers."

Tourism Dunedin chief executive Hamish Saxton said the challenge for Dunedin would centre on the efficient transportation of passengers and catering for larger ships.

The forecasts contained in the regional report would help Dunedin prepare for the influx of visitors.

"This is good news and a significant growth area.

"The cruise industry is where Dunedin can, and does, excel."

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