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The record-breaking 2012-13 Dunedin cruise-ship season is expected to pump $42.8 million and 799 jobs into the local economy.
Higher returns were expected this season, with passenger arrivals predicted to rise 20%, and the number of voyages and port calls up an estimated 8%.
Tourism Dunedin chief executive Hamish Saxton said the industry had experienced "terrific growth" and Dunedin was held up as a model for other cities.
In terms of New Zealand cities, Dunedin ($42 million) was third in overall added value to the economy, behind Auckland ($114.9 million), and Wellington ($43.2 million).
"The cruise sector is of great value to the economy ... and increasingly so."
In terms of employment, the city (799 jobs) was second behind Auckland (1755 jobs).
Nationwide, 130 cruises are scheduled for this season, making 756 port visits. The cruise liners will carry 209,000 passengers and 92,000 crew.
The Dunedin season is expected to feature 87 port visits, bringing an estimated 160,000 passengers and 69,000 crew to the city.
Cruise New Zealand chairman Craig Harris said global trends, such as larger ships on order and the resilience of the Asian and Australian economies, indicated growth for the sector would continue.
Ships were getting larger, coupled with an expanded Panama Canal, which might mean New Zealand's port facilities struggled.
"It is even more imperative for Auckland, as our key exchange port, to continue to future-proof its cruise infrastructure to attract more ships to start and stop their cruises in New Zealand.
"This activity adds to the value cruise contributes to our economy, as it encourages passengers to stay in Auckland before and after their cruise."
Tourism Industry Association New Zealand chief executive Martin Snedden said it was crucial that New Zealand ports had the infrastructure to accommodate more cruise passengers and larger ships.