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New cruise data provides insight into fast-growing sector

19 Oct 2017  By Contributor

The Sapphire Princess in Akaroa Harbour. Image: Alan Liefting


Stats NZ has released its first annual cruise ship traveller statistics providing insight into the number of passengers and crew arriving and departing New Zealand.
The initiative between The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Stats NZ brings together visitor arrival data and spending. Stats NZ would reveal expenditure figures in December.
Yesterday’s release includes data for the year to June 2017 as well as for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons.
The data collection has been welcomed by the New Zealand Cruise Association, which said it reaffirmed the size and importance of the sector.
“It’s great to see that the government has listened to our requests and is now providing this important set of official data,” said chief executive Kevin O’Sullivan.
“This information is extremely valuable to all those engaged in the cruise industry and it will be used to make decisions on planning for cruise nationally and in our regions.”
Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts said the industry had been working hard for the last five years to gain official recognition of cruise visitor arrivals.
“It was only thanks to research commissioned by Cruise New Zealand that we know the cruise sector added $447m to New Zealand’s economy in 2016-17 and supported around 8000 jobs,” said Roberts.
“Cruise is playing an important part in helping the tourism industry achieve the Tourism 2025 goal of growing total annual revenue to $41bn by 2025 and the new official count will help to reliably measure the full impact of cruise visits to 20 ports around the country.”
Key findings of the cruise ship passenger statistics include:

    • 222,000 cruise ship passengers visited New Zealand in the June 2017 year, down 7% from the June 2016 year. This was due to a fall in the number of winter cruises in 2017.
    • 50% of all cruise ship passengers to New Zealand were Australian citizens, while 18% were United States citizens, and 9% were citizens of the United Kingdom. New Zealanders made up 7% of cruise ship passengers.
    • Three-quarters of cruise ship passengers to New Zealand were aged 50-79 in the June 2017 year, with the median age of 65.
    • Four of every five cruise ship passengers to New Zealand in 2017 visited Auckland. Roughly three quarters visited Fiordland, Dunedin, and Wellington. Roughly two-thirds visited Tauranga and a Canterbury port (mainly Akaroa).


Stats NZ said cruise ship passenger statistics are based on advance passenger information supplied by ship crew to Customs NZ. Port statistics are also based on cruise ship schedules supplied by the New Zealand Cruise Association to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Domestic cruises within New Zealand waters are excluded from the statistics.

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