New Study Shows 44 Per Cent Increase In Cruising’s Economic Contribution As Australian Cruise Industry Outpaces Global Growth

New analysis by Deloitte Access Economics shows the Australian cruise industry made a value added contribution of $828.1 million to the national economy in 2010-2011 – 44 per cent more than its $576.6 million contribution in 2007-2008.

The study commissioned by Carnival Australia showed cruising’s value added contribution was highest in NSW ($370.9 million in 2010-2011 with a forecast of $1.128 billion in 2019-2020) and Queensland ($166.4 million in 2010-2011 with a forecast of $340.8 million in 2019-2020).

Viewed in gross output terms, cruising contributed $1.9 billion to the national economy in 2010-2011 compared with $1.2 billion* in 2007-2008 – an increase of $700 million or nearly 60 per cent (*as reported in an earlier Access Economics study).  

“The cruise industry has been the standout success of the Australian tourism sector for years and the new study now enables us to quantify its positive economic impact,” Carnival Australia Chief Executive Officer Ann Sherry said.

“In 2011, around half a million Australians took a cruise holiday and we are on course to achieve the goal of a million passengers enjoying a cruise holiday by 2020.”

Some of the major findings of the analysis include:

  • Total cruise expenditure in 2010-2011 was $943.7 million and this is forecast to grow to $2.595 billion by 2019-2020
  • Between 2010-2011 and 2012-2013, average annual passenger growth in the cruise sector is expected to be 32 per cent (based on observed Australian port bookings data)
  • Providing impediments are addressed, annual passenger growth is expected to be seven per cent from 2013-2014 to 2019-2020
  • The Australian cruise sector now represents over four per cent of the global cruise market in terms of passenger numbers compared to less than two per cent five years ago.
  • The cruise sector’s contribution to employment in 2010-2011 was 7,220 (FTE) and this is forecast to grow to 19,841 by 2019-2020

Deloitte Access Economics Director Ric Simes said the Australian cruise sector had experienced strong growth over the last five years and its contribution to national and state economies had also grown signficantly.

“This growth has exceeded previous estimates and, based on the available data, will certainly continue in the medium term,” he said. “In terms of economic activity, cruise tourism’s contribution to national GDP is forecast to double to 0.12 per cent through to 2019-2020.”

The latest analysis further underlines the strength of the Australian cruise industry, which is enjoying an average annual growth rate of more than three times that of the global cruise industry.

“Research shows the local cruise industry has grown by an average 18 per cent in each of the past five years compared with just five per cent for the global industry which means we are the envy of the rest of the world,” Ms Sherry said.

Ms Sherry said the Deloitte Access Economics analysis underlined the need for appropriate investment in port facilities to encourage further growth of the cruise industry and its increasing economic contribution.

This was particularly relevant in Sydney where a ‘three berth solution’ is needed with one berth west of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and two in the eastern harbour.

“The Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney is already at capacity and the need for a permanent shared solution at Garden Island is now critical,” Ms Sherry said. “International cruise ships are less likely to come to Sydney if suitable berthing arrangements are unavailable. If this happens, Australia could miss out on the economic benefits the sector provides.”



New South Wales: Sydney has experienced significant growth in value added and employment since the previous report was undertaken in 2007-08. Value added has increased from $232 million (2011 AUD) to $371 million in 2010-11. This is equivalent to growth of 60 per cent over the three years.

Queensland: There has been a significant amount of activity in the cruise tourism industry in Queensland since the previous report was undertaken. Total value added has increased from $105 million in 2007-08 (2011 AUD) to more than $166 million in 2010-11. Over the three years this is equivalent to growth of around 60 per cent.

Victoria: Growth in value added in Victoria has averaged around 13 per cent in the three years since the previous report was undertaken, this is equivalent to total growth of 45 per cent, resulting in expenditure increasing from just less than $42 million in 2006-07 to $60 million in 2010-11. Therefore while growth has not been as strong as Queensland and NSW, growth in Victoria has been notable.

South Australia: The total economic contribution of the tourism-related port activity in South Australia is just over $3.1 million (AUD 2011) (see Table 4.15). Included in the value added is wages paid to employees of $1.7 million, the cruise-related activity generates about 30 FTE workers in the South Australian economy.

Western Australia: Western Australia has experienced significant growth since the previous time this report was undertaken in 2006-07, total value added has increased from $22 million (2011 AUD) to almost $38 million in 2010-11, total growth over the period is 68 per cent or almost 19 per cent annually.

Tasmania: Unlike many of the other regions in Australia Tasmania has experienced a period of significant slowdown in value added since the previous report was undertaken. Total value added over the period has fallen from $16.1 million in 2007-08 to just under $7 million. This is negative growth of almost 25 per cent over the three years.

Northern Territory: The Northern Territory has experienced considerable growth over the period since 2006-07 total value added has increased by 213 per cent, at an annualised rate of 47 per cent. Total value added has increased from $14.8 million in 2007-08 (2011AUD) to more than $46 million in 2010-11.