Cruise ship tourism riding a wave

Raewyn Tan.
Raewyn Tan.
Dunedin tourist industry representatives have been warned to prepare for a boomer cruise ship season next summer.

Cruise New Zealand told a briefing of industry players at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery yesterday that a 13% increase in passengers was predicted for the 2015-16 summer.

This summer, cruise ship passenger numbers were expected to rise from 133,750 to 136,000, but next summer that was predicted to grow to 154,000.

Cruise New Zealand general manager Raewyn Tan said the cruise ship market was growing internationally and especially in the Australian market, which was where most of Dunedin's cruise visitors came from.

Globally, that growth had driven the commissioning of new ships, many designed to carry more than 4000 passengers, that were due to begin operation next summer.

''So the forecast is for marginal growth this year, but it's 2015-16 that we are really excited about.''

While it meant more passengers, the bigger ships meant fewer visits, she said.

Cruise ship companies' surveys by some of the bigger ships to visit last season showed customer satisfaction with Port Chalmers was 87.3% compared with Auckland's 88.1%, Milford Sound's 92.2% and Akaroa's 85.7%.

Port Chalmers' result put it in fifth place, up from sixth the previous year.

Dunedin received 66% of the visits by cruise ships to New Zealand.

This summer, 80 cruise ships would visit over 72 days, starting on October 8 and including Christmas Day.

IDNZ executive director and Cruise New Zealand deputy chairwoman Debbie Summers said IDNZ, which organised the ground-based services and tours for the cruise ships, loved Dunedin and its cruise ship clients loved coming to the city.

The city had many strengths, including unique attractions.

Its challenges included its geographic location and weather uncertainties, shelter for passengers on the wharf, wharf congestion and the tight supply of coaches.

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