Cruise ship numbers and spend swelling

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The number of cruise ships visiting New Zealand, and the amount of spending by cruise ship passengers has continued to rise significantly.

Auckland and Tauranga have had the largest total spending by port so far. In the June 2019 year, Tauranga recorded the largest increase in the number of passengers.

Cruise ship spending is going full steam ahead, swelling 28 per cent to $570 million in the year ended June 2019, Stats NZ said on Friday.

The $125.2 million lift in annual cruise spending reflected a surge in the number of cruise voyages, port calls, and passengers. This followed an 11 per cent increase for the June 2018 year.

“Cruise ship spending has risen every year since 2015, but the annual increase in the latest 12 months is the biggest in both dollar and percentage terms,” says national accounts senior manager Gary Dunnet.

Spending by cruise visitors in New Zealand climbed to $370.3 million, up 25 per cent ($73.5 million), following a 20 per cent increase in 2018. Since 2015, spending by cruise visitors has increased 84 per cent ($169.1 million).

Vessel spend associated with services, including fuel (bunkering), provided to cruise ships visiting New Zealand totalled $145.5 million, up 39 per cent ($41.0 million). GST from cruise expenditure contributed a further $54.0 million to total expenditure.

Auckland and Tauranga had the largest total spending by port. In the year ended June 2019, spending in Auckland totalled $192.5 million (up 32 per cent), with Tauranga recording $90.3 million (up 35 per cent). Dunedin surpassed $60 million (up 26 per cent).

More voyages, port calls, and passengers

In the June 2019 year, the New Zealand Cruise Association recorded 176 ship voyages and 981 port calls, including an increasing number of overnights, up from 148 and 707 respectively in the 2018 year.

Nearly 322,000 cruise ship passengers visited New Zealand in the year ended June 2019, up 24 per cent (62,000) from 2018.

“The increase in passengers was driven by citizens from Australia (up 43,000) and the United States (up 12,000). New Zealand citizens increased to 35,000, a 4 per cent increase,” says population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers.

Australian citizens’ overall share of unique cruise passengers rebounded to 49 per cent in 2019, from 44 per cent in 2018 and 50 per cent in 2017. United States citizens accounted for 20 per cent, New Zealand citizens 11 per cent, and United Kingdom citizens 6 per cent. Collectively, Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom have made up about three-quarters of all passengers during the 2015–19 period.

Auckland and Dunedin ports had the largest number of passengers. In the June 2019 year, Auckland received 239,000 passengers, up 13 per cent (28,000), while Dunedin received 238,000, up 32 per cent (58,000). Tauranga recorded the largest increase in the number of passengers up 75,000 (49 per cent) to 227,000.

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