28 cruise ships are currently scheduled to dock at Stewart Island or Bluff ports during the 2019/20 cruise season, equating to potentially 11,000 cruise passengers between November and March and an estimated $28m in direct and indirect expenditure. Great South and New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA) in partnership with South Port and Stewart Island Promotions Association (SIPA) are hosting ‘Cruise Ready’ seminars to discuss the implications, management and opportunities of increasing numbers of cruise ships in our Southland waters.
Much of the discussion at the seminars will be around port logistics on cruise days including infrastructure and amenities as well as safety considerations. For businesses, there be insights on what to expect from these visitors and how they can prepare with activities or by aligning staff and operating hours with potential guest visitation.
A number of guest speakers will be present at the seminars where issues and opportunities are expected to be identified. Kevin O’Sullivan from NZCA said that as a whole, cruise passenger visitation across New Zealand is forecast to have increased by approximately 13% this season, however visitation in Southland is likely to change again next year with major a major cruise company who own Caledonian Sky, a 120 birth vessel which is responsible for 10 visits this coming season, likely to move into the northern hemisphere for the 20/21 cruise season.
Bobbi Brown General Manager of Tourism and Events at Great South says that the soon to be released Southland Murihiku Destination Strategy identifies the opportunities of cruise for the region – particularly with approximately 130 ships cruising the waters of Fiordland and Port Chalmers this coming year. However, it also identifies the need for fit for purpose infrastructure to meet the needs of this sector as well as more commissionable product on shore to ensure the economic benefits of cruise visits can be realised. Saying this, she did note that encouraging repeat visitation is a key focus of Great South especially as many cruise passengers are Australian – Southland’s largest visitor market.
A report commissioned in 2017 indicates that cruises contributed $7M to the combined Southland / Fiordland economy in the 2016/2017 cruise season with projections on the 2018/2019 season bookings forecast to deliver $15M in direct expenditure and a further $13M injected into the economy through valued added or flow on expenditure, which is the increased demand for goods and services generated by the industry. The report also classifies 299 jobs throughout the Southland region as dependent upon the cruise industry.
The seminars contain an opportunity to discuss the holistic overview of the future of cruise in the region from a number of perspectives with Environment Southland’s Maritime Manager Lyndon Cleaver pointing out the possible benefits arising from the review of the Cruise Ship Deed of Agreement and the work streams that will follow this review (policy which dictates the number of cruises in Fiordland internal waters and covers the ports of Stewart Island and Bluff).
Southland District Council will also be in attendance to discuss infrastructure and the Stewart Island Visitor Levy in relation to cruise.
Aaron Joy from SIPA said that it’s a perfect opportunity to make sure that Stewart Island is ready for the increased visitation, to present a professional destination and ask for any assistance that might be required from the partnering organisations. He states that the island is as unique as the characters that live on it so it should be a great meeting for relevant SIPA members to attend.
If your organisation or business is interested in knowing more about the cruise seminars, please contact Jo Tippett from Great South on email@example.com.