19 Oct 2010

Cruise industry predicts boom season

7:36 am on 19 October 2010

The cruise industry says it's expecting a record season this year and is predicting next year will be even better.

The season has just kicked off and Cruise New Zealand is expecting 134,000 passengers to visit port destinations throughout the country.

The industry body expects this season to contribute more than $220 million to the economy over the next six months - an increase of about $30 million on the previous season.

Cruise New Zealand chairman Craig Harris says many more ships are now basing themselves in the South Pacific.

Next season, he predicts, cruise passenger numbers will be around the 200,000 mark. Estimating that each passenger will spend an average of $1700 in New Zealand, he says this would inject more than $340 million into the economy.

Mr Harris says the spending will flow through from the more than 80,000 crew members as well.

Ports of Auckland says it's expecting strong growth with 77 ships calling in, with an estimated spend per ship of $1.2 million.

Lyttelton Port is also expecting to also benefit from the growth, despite last month's earthquake.

The port says 60 cruise ships are booked and it's estimating passengers will inject $23 million into the local economy.