Debbie Woods, Ocean Independence; Maree Tollenaar, AirCenter One Debbie Woods, Ocean Independence; Maree Tollenaar, AirCenter One

Challenges ahead for cruising

New Zealand’s cruise future is bright, despite existing challenges, a strong contingent of SKAL Auckland members and guests heard yesterday.

Debbie Summers, executive director of IDNZ and chair of NZ Cruise, says some 350,00 cruise passengers are forecast to arrive in New Zealand in 2018-2019 – a massive jump from 200,000 in the past season. There are expected to be 1000 port calls, up from 791.

‘The barriers to growth include infrastructure – there is a basic need for larger wharves – and itinerary development, we need new ports to attract repeat visitors. We also have coach companies struggling to keep up with the volume in a relatively short season, but that’s a problem in other areas of tourism as well.

‘That said the future is bright we are getting bigger ships and more ships all the time. We are also seeing Australia’s double digit growth as a source market – it now represents 50% of our cruise visitors to New Zealand.’

Summers points out that if cruise was a holiday market it would be the third largest provider of visitors, after China and Australia.

Yesterday’s SKAL lunch was held at Cordis Auckland, one of the most popular events on the travel fellowship club’s calendar. It attracted more than 50 attendees.