Lack of adequate docking space in Sydney is threatening the Australian cruise tourism sector with the biggest cruise ship companies being compelled to pull out their vessels out of Sydney.
Cruise companies have started bypassing this Australian city in favour of New Zealand, Brisbane and Melbourne that is believed to be a major blow to the fastest-growing tourism sector of New South Wales (NSW). This is due to the fact that Overseas Passenger Terminal of Sydney’s Harbour is at capacity.
Ships like Royal Caribbean’s Cruises have stopped sending its 15-deck Voyager of the Seas ‘mini-city’ to Australia on account of this issue.
Instead of this, the major cruise-liner would remain in China and Singapore for a year-round season. And, this is the first time on the last 10 years that an important cruise liner has cut a service.
Adam Armstrong who is the Managing Director said that its 12-deck vessel Radiance of the Seas would stop its operations in Sydney. It would be bypassing the city for Melbourne and New Zealand.
It is estimated that Sydney is likely to lose 65,000 guests a year from Voyager of the Seas and nearly $32 million in passenger spend on account of this issue.
Mr. Armstrong added that Singapore and China would benefit from having the Voyager in their markets instead of in Australia.
He mentioned that China, Hong Kong and Singapore have already added some world-class terminals.
Currently, the cruise sector is the fastest growing tourism industry in Australia worth $5 billion to the NSW economy and supporting as many as 20,000 jobs. In 2015 to 2016, there were 325 cruise vessels visiting NSW.
Carnival Australia, the largest cruise company of Australia that represents seven cruise brands in the region including Princess and P & O Cruises is also trying their level best to berth in Sydney. And, some of the cruise ships are moving to Melbourne and Brisbane in 2018 that could have been in Sydney.
Carnival Australia would base its ship Queen Elizabeth for two months between February and April 2019.
This is actually the longest time any of its present fleet of Queens have been stationed in Australia. However, the preference of the company was to set sail for Sydney. But then, no berths were available in Sydney. Therefore, for the first time, three of the cruise vessels would be from Melbourne.
Ann Sherry, the executive chairman of Carnival Australia said that the city desperately requires new berthing capacity on the eastern side of the Harbour Bridge.
Ms. Sherry feels that the best solution for this acute cruise-ship crisis is the share access to Garden Island with the Royal Australian Navy.