NEW Zealand’s primary cruise hub stands ready to prosper from Sydney’s cruise infrastructure dilemma which has already seen the likes of Royal Caribbean scale back future cruise operations to the NSW capital city (CW 27 Apr) and Carnival Australia admit it is “increasingly basing ships in other cities such as Melbourne and Brisbane” (CW 04 May).
Yesterday at NZ’s travel & tourism show TRENZ, Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) chief exec Chris Roberts (pictured) unveiled the firm’s Tourism for Tomorrow strategy for 2025 for the yet to be elected incoming NZ government.
The paper includes 29 “priority actions”, one of which is a need to “invest more of the tourism dividend received by the govt back into infrastructure to support tourism’s future growth”.
Roberts specified a number of areas where progress was needed including a need for “better cruise facilities”.
Speaking exclusively with Cruise Weekly at TRENZ, Roberts said a solution to enable “Ovation of the Seas-sized” ships to dock at Queens Wharf was not far away & would encourage more cruise lines to base vessels in Auckland.
Due to it’s size, Ovation of the Seas currently must drop anchor in Auckland harbour, meaning its 4,000 passengers must take a tender to the land.
“We are lucky Royal Caribbean are doing that at the moment but it’s not a sustainable solution.”
He welcomed a recent solution for Lyttleton, Christchurch’s cruise hub, that would enable Oasis-class ships to dock at the nearby port town (CW 02 May).
“If this suggested solution to make the wharf here in Auckland usable by all sized cruise ships, that will largely remove most of the concern about cruise ship facilities,” Roberts commented.
“Then Auckland can concentrate on stealing more business off Sydney,” he told Cruise Weekly.
Roberts said with the proper cruise infrastructure in place (see page two) by as early as Sep this year, Auckland would be able to pitch to more cruise lines to base their ships in New Zealand, rather than having Auckland as a port of call on an itinerary out of Sydney.
“Pretty much the bulk of all our [ship] visits are coming out of Sydney, so we are missing out”.
“We should be ambitious to have them based here rather than just a destination out of Australia,” Roberts suggested.