Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry has welcomed growing awareness among travel agents that their business success is inextricably linked to continued cruise industry growth and investment in port facilities to support expansion.
Ms Sherry said travel agents had played a big part in making Australia the world's fastest growing cruise market in which cruising was the standout success of tourism.
"It became clear at CLIA's recent Cruise3sixty conference that travel agents are now asking what needs to happen to support further industry growth and what they can do to influence a positive outcome," Ms Sherry said.
"Travel agents can play an influential role in advocating for infrastructure investment and better access to port facilities in Sydney and Brisbane in particular.
"The current record cruise season, in which the 'house full' sign has gone up on Sydney Harbour a number of times, highlights the need for long term access to Garden Island to handle the overflow of ships during the peak period.
"There are similar challenges in Brisbane where improved facilities are needed to support growth in the Queensland market."
Ms Sherry said travel agents were building strong businesses around cruising which in turn contributed to their wider travel business activity.
Agents were tuned into the cruise industry's landmarks including this year achieving a million passengers – five years ahead of schedule – along with the industry's $3.2 billion economic contribution and 11 years of 20 per cent average growth in passenger numbers.
"There are a number of things travel agents can do to influence outcomes that support industry growth, creating jobs and opportunities for their businesses," Ms Sherry said.
"They can advocate to their local MPs to make sure that relevant federal ministers have cruising and the opportunities it represents on the radar.
"Travel agents possess the industry knowledge and experience to get the message out that tourism is a vital part of the national economy, particularly as it reboots for the post resources boom era.
"They can also push for specific advances such as long term access to Garden Island to allow for expansion in Sydney as the gateway to Australia."