The tourism industry, in the contemporary global framework, has developed profusely and extensively worldwide, much of which can be attributed to phenomena like Globalization, Liberalizations and technological as well as infrastructural innovations, which on one hand have contributed to greater economic well being of a considerable section of global population, which is not confined to developed countries only and on other hand has made travelling domestically as well as internationally more convenient (Holland, 2018). This in turn has resulted in the rapid development of the tourism industry, thereby making the same one of the largest industry in the global framework.
The tourism industry has diversified and developed various genres in its domain, catering to the increasing demands and dynamics in the preference patterns of the customers across the globe. One of the newest forms of tourism, in this context, has been the cruise tourism (Rodrigue & Notteboom, 2013). Although traveling by water has remained as one of the primitive forms of overseas travelling, however the concept of tourism and holidaying by cruise has been developing in the recent periods and the cruise tourism is developing as one of the fastest growing aspects of the already expanding tourism industry (Hadad et al., 2012).
Keeping the fast growth of cruising as a form of tourism and the continually increasing global demand for the same into consideration, the concerned report tries to examine and analyse the growth of the cruising industry and cruise tourism in one of the dominant and most developed countries in the global framework, Australia, thereby emphasizing on especially the growth of the same in the Western Australian region over the last few years.
Cruising as an important component of the tourism industry has been developing immensely in the contemporary period, in the global scenario as can be seen from the rising number of cruise passengers in the world across the world, as can be seen from the following figure:
The impressive growth trend in the global cruising industry can be considerably attributed to the immense growth of the demand as well as supply of cruising services, primarily in the developed countries, Australia being one of such countries (Weaver & Duval, 2014). This can be shown with the help of the following figure:
As is evident from the above figure, Australia ranks among the first five countries in terms of the primary source markets with maximum demand for cruising and cruise holidays, thereby indicating towards the fact that cruise tourism, as an industry under the domain of the tourism industry itself, has been considerably developing in the country (Coggins Jr, 2014).
The cruise industry, has however developed abruptly in the last few years in the country, as can be seen from the sudden increase in the number of demand side players in the industry in Australia, which can be seen from the following figure:
As is evident from the above figure, the number of clients in the cruising industry has increased continually from 2006. However, the rate of increase in the same gained a steady impetus post 2010, after which the increase has been substantial (Chon, 2013). The ten years average growth of the demand side of the cruise industry in Australia, as can be seen from the above figure, is nearly 19.2% which is highly impressive as per the global standards in this aspect. The year wise percentage growth of the passengers in the cruising industry of this country can be seen from the following figure:
With the impressive growth rate of the cruse industry in the country and a record breaking run of the same, the cruise tourism industry of the country has reached its target of including one million local clients in the industry by 2014, which was six years ahead of their target. Australia, thus, can be safely considered as the fastest growing passenger market for cruise tourism in the contemporary global scenario, with highest market penetration in this aspect compared to any other cruising nations, which can be seen from the following figure, which compares the market penetration of the cruising industry in different dominant countries and passenger markets:
Destinations and patterns of cruising in Australian market
Cruise tourism in Australia has developed considerably in the last few years with a fare share of increase in the demand for international cruising as well as small duration domestic cruising within the country itself. On one hand, while the Australian passengers have been seen to increasingly indulge in international cruising, on the other hand, a number of domestic cruising options have also developed in the country, which has contributed significantly in developing the numbers of cruise tourism as a whole in the country. In the domain of international as well as domestic cruising, the destinations which are mostly visited by the Australian passengers can be seen from the following figure:
As is evident from the above figure, the most visited destinations for Australian cruise passengers are the South Pacific Region (42.4%) and the domestic locations in Australia itself (26.0%), followed by other destinations like New Zealand, European countries and Asia.
People from all parts of the country has been seen to be taking interest in cruise tourism, in the recent years. However, if the numbers of passengers are seen region wise, then the country shows a somewhat skewed distribution as is evident from the following figure:
As is evident from the above figure, the highest demand for cruise tourism is seen to be coming from the New South Wales region of the country. This is followed by the population of Queensland and Victoria. NSW accounts for nearly 40.8% of all the cruisers in Australia and the numbers have increased by 23.9% from 2015 to 2016. On the other hand, the Queensland population is seen to contribute nearly 23.8% of the country’s cruising population in 2016 (Gibson, 2012).
On the other hand, the other regions like Western and South Australia, though contributing lesser numbers of cruise passengers, as compared to the three primary regions, are seen to be growing significantly in the recent periods, which will be discussed in the later sections of the report.
The Australian cruise population can be seen to be of all age groups and the distribution is seen to be more or less uniform as can be seen from the following figure:
From the above figure, it is evident that the population below 40 years contribute a major share in the total cruising population of the country, followed by the age group of above 70 years. The other age clusters contribute more or less uniformly in the cruising passenger population of the country (Bonilla-Priego, Font & del Rosario Pacheco-Olivares, 2014). This in turn implies that cruising is especially popular among the youth and young age population as well as among the retired and old age population of the country, who generally tend to book cruise holidays for leisure and relaxation.
The growth of the cruising market of Australia can also be seen from the total number of sea days of the Australians, the increase of which can be seen in the following figure:
As is evident from the above figure, the number of sea days has been consistently increasing over the years, with nearly 12.1 million sea days for the Australians in 2016, which is nearly an increase of 84% in the last five years.
Sydney being the best cruise destination in Australia as well as in New Zealand and also the best homeport of the country and with nearly 336 ships visiting Sydney in the last years, cruise tourism is the fastest growing sector of tourism in Australia and the industry contribute more than five billion AUD to the economy of the country in the recent periods.
Reasons behind development of cruise industry in Australia
There are several key factors contributing towards the growth of the cruise industry and cruise tourism in Australia, the primary ones being as follows:
- a) Regions of habitation- The country is itself surrounded by sea and nearly 80% of the population of the country live within the radius of 50 kilometres from the different sea coasts. The beautiful sea coasts and vast oceans induce the love for cruising in the Australians and they can assess beautiful local as well as international cruising destinations by relatively shorter ocean routes.
- b) Wonderful destinations- There lie the options of Great Barrier Reef, wonders of New Zealand, coastal cities as well as tropical regions of the South Pacific Zone in short radius of the country. Longer cruise options include exploring Asia and beyond as well as European countries, all of which tempts the Australians to indulge in cruising more.
- c) Economic Prosperity- Over the years, the country has developed considerably showing impressive growth patterns in the economy, which in turn has contributed in raising the economic welfare and standard of living of a fair share of people in the country. This economic abundance also plays a key role in increasing the number of cruise travellers in the country, which in turn has led to the growth of cruising industry (Amelung & Nicholls, 2014).
- d) Affordability- The cruising packages, especially the short ones are extremely affordable for most of the Australians, which also contribute significantly in the growth of the industry in the country.
- e) Infrastructural development- Not only the cruise ships but also the ports and the other infrastructures related to the same has developed significantly in the country, which has also facilitated the development of the industry in the country.
Keeping these into consideration, the following section discusses the growth of the cruising industry in the Western Australian region specifically.
Growth of Cruising industry in Western Australia
As has been seen from the above discussion, the lions’ share of the cruise passengers of the country comes from the three big names. However, though the share of Western Australia is comparatively much smaller than that of the three big regions, the same has been seen to be showing highly impressive trends in the development of the cruise market in the recent periods. The number of cruisers in the region is seen to increase by 31.8% in one year (Brueckner et al., 2014). The numbers are expected to rise consistently in the coming years, with nearly 4.0% of market penetration in this region of the country.
The cruise industry is seen to be the fastest growing sector of tourism in Western Australia, with a contribution of nearly 387.4 million USD in the economy of the region in the economic year of 2016-2017 and also with the creation of nearly 1448 jobs. The Western Australia, with its nine ports, has experienced a 16.5% increase in the number of cruise ship visits, with the number increasing from 121 to 141 in one year (Tourism.wa.gov.au, 2018).
The growth of the cruise industry in the region is expected to experience a huge boost with the Fremantle Port of the region potentially welcoming six super cruise liners which include Regatta, Azamara Journey, Seven Seas Navigator, Ocean Dream, L’Austral and also the Golden Princess (Tourism.wa.gov.au, 2018). The Tourism Department of West Australia has also played a crucial role in the development of the industry and is expected to implement the Cruise Shipping Strategic Plan (2012-2020), in which the primary agenda is to promote the nine cruise ports of the country to the nationals as well as to the cruise travelling enthusiasts across the globe. The plan also emphasizes on the areas like destination marketing, strengthening of capacity, infrastructural development and the development of landside destinations in order to increase the growth of the industry and its economic revenue generation in the coming years.
As is evident from the above discussion, cruise tourism has been developing as the fastest growing branch of tourism in Australia as a whole and Western Australia in particular. With hundreds of thousands of people of all age group and from all the regions of the country increasingly participating in cruising and ocean holidaying and with robust development of the port destinations of the country as well as in that of the Western Australian region, the industry is expected to see huge growth in the coming years. The Western Australian region, still lagging behind the three big regions, is also experiencing impressive growth and market penetration in the cruise industry which is expected to get a bigger boost subjected to proper implementation and working of the Cruise Shipping Strategic Plan of the region, which has been brought forward by Tourism WA, in collaboration with the Cruise WA Committee and which aims at increasing the expanse and revenue generation as well as the clientele in the cruise industry of the region in the coming years.
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