19 Oct 2023

South Australia cruises ahead with record-breaking $215 million season


South Australia’s cruise industry is shipshape with last year’s season setting an all-time high visitor expenditure, ahead of a record 2023-24 season launching next week.
An economic impact assessment jointly commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association and the Australian Cruise Association shows the 2022-23 cruise season injected a record high $215 million into South Australia’s economy and supported 704 jobs.
The season welcomed a then record 103 full and expedition ship visits to the state, carrying more than 227,900 passengers and crew on board. The upcoming season starts next week – with a new high of 124 visits locked in.
The 2022-23 results well surpass the state’s previous record season in 2018-19, which generated $145 million with 82 ship visits.
More than 26,000 shore excursions were taken during the season, boosting visitation to destinations including Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, and Port Lincoln as well as visits to expedition landing sites or anchorages in unique and remote coastal locations.
Adelaide’s newly renovated cruise terminal in Outer Harbor saw 45 ship visits over the season, carrying 110,100 passengers and crew, with 10,500 passengers participating in on shore excursions.
Kangaroo Island hosted the most shore excursions in the state, with 11,500 passengers visiting the region.
It comes as the state’s 2023/24 season commences on 25 October, when the Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess arrives in Kangaroo Island before setting sail for Adelaide’s Outer Harbor terminal on 26 October. The 124 scheduled cruise ship visits are expected to bring a capacity of 234,000 passengers and crew to SA this summer.
The report also found that Australia’s cruise industry had generated a record $5.63 billion for the national economy in its first year of revival, bringing new levels of employment and visitor spending to destinations around the country.
Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said not only has the state's cruise sector bounded back, but it has achieved a record-breaking $215 million in visitor expenditure for South Australia and supported an incredible 704 jobs. 
"Cruise visitors are extremely important to our visitor economy, as it injects spending right across our state – from off-shore excursions in Kangaroo Island and Port Lincoln, to those who discover our worldclass Adelaide Hills or Barossa while in Adelaide," Minister Bettison said. 
"This sector is only set to grow, as we get ready to welcome 124 ship visits – the largest ever – to our state for the 2023-24 season starting later this month."
CLIA Managing Director in Australasia, Joel Katz said the economic impact from cruise tourism last financial year was the highest ever recorded in Australia. 
"Cruising returned to Australia much later than other parts of the world, but the ships have been resoundingly welcomed by cruise fans who have been heading back to sea in huge numbers," Mr Katz said.
"The 2022-23 year has brought higher levels of passenger spending, higher levels of cruise line spending, and record levels of economic output around Australia. The result is a resurgent cruise industry worth $5.63 billion to the Australian economy."
ACA Chief Executive Officer, Jill Abel said the level of employment supported by cruising was also at a record high, bringing renewal to dozens of tourism destinations around the country.
"Cruise ships visited more Australian destinations than ever in 2022-23, reaching 62 communities around our coast," Ms Abel said.
"Together these destinations welcomed 1,354 ship visits, which generates enormous income for businesses like tourism operators, hotels and restaurants, retailers, transport providers and port operators. 
"The supply chain that supports cruising is extensive, from the travel agents who manage the passengers’ arrangements through to the farmers who provide Australian produce served on board."