The world’s largest cruise association has released statistics for 2013, showing a surge in the number of New Zealand cruise passengers.
The Cruise Lines International Association has released a report stating that over the past seven years the number of Kiwi cruisers has doubled. The industry continues to grow an average 14% annually.
North Islanders have been driving the growth, accounting for 79% of the market.
The report revealed 59, 316 Kiwis went on a cruise in 2013, a 23% increase from 2012 and surpassing all major passenger markets.
The record result is the second largest hike since the statistics were first complied in 2006.
Market penetration also slightly increased by 0.2%, meaning 1.3% of the population went on a cruise in 2013.
Despite New Zealand being a small source market for cruises, its growth rate tops other major cruise markets including Australia (20% growth) and the US (3% growth).
However, New Zealand lags behind in market penetration with Australia leading the way at 3.6% and the US at 3.3%.
CLIA Australasia general manager Brett Jardine said the results showed Kiwis were increasingly discovering the joys of cruising.
“New Zealand is a young cruise market and this impressive growth shows that cruising is very much on the horizon for a lot of Kiwi travellers,” Mr Jardine said.
With more ships being deployed in the region in the coming years, we expect to see continued growth out of NZ.”
Mr Jardine said the figures showed renewed interest in the New Zealand market after numbers fell in 2012 due to a temporary reduction in local cruise capacity.
The most popular destination for Kiwi passengers was the South Pacific, attracting 31% of cruisers.
More than half of the New Zealand passengers took cruises of 8-14 days. This category increased by 27% in response to the growing number of South Pacific and local cruises on offer.