Canterbury’s busy cruise season gets underway this month with the first of 59 scheduled cruise ship visits to the Port of Lyttelton.
The Sapphire Princess, which carries 3100 passengers and 1238 crew, will be the first – and biggest - cruise ship to dock at Lyttelton this season. It is due to arrive here on October 18.
“The Sapphire Princess’ arrival marks the start of what is going to be a very busy cruise season for us and we’re looking forward to giving all the passengers who come ashore a fantastic glimpse of what Canterbury has to offer so they’ll leave determined to come back,” says Christchurch & Canterbury acting chief executive Ian Hay.
A special i-SITE visitor kiosk will be set up again this year at Lyttelton wharf to provide information and advice for cruise visitors wanting to explore the region for the day.
“The growing popularity of cruising means this is a very important market segment for us and we’ll be pulling out all the stops to ensure passengers receive a warm welcome and get the most out of their brief stay with us,” Mr Hay says.
Last season Canterbury hosted a total of 65 cruise ship visits; this season the number of cruise ship visits jumps to 71. Lyttelton will host 59 cruise ship visits, Akaroa, 7, Kaikoura, 4, and Timaru, 1. Aboard those ships will be 147,161 passengers and crew.
February will be the busiest month of the season with 19 ships, including the Queen Mary 2, arriving in our ports.
On November 27, December 31, February 15 and February 17 there were will be two cruise ships in port at Lyttelton at once.
It has been calculated that each passenger that travels on a cruise ship to New Zealand injects around $1700 into the economy.
This season it is expected some 200,000 cruise passengers will visit New Zealand, injecting around $346 million into the economy and creating jobs for more than 5600 people.
Craig Harris, chairman of Cruise New Zealand and chief executive of ISS-McKay, says the forecast for New Zealand’s cruise industry is huge.
“For the coming season cruise will be New Zealand’s fourth largest international visitor market behind Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Our ongoing forecasts show that cruise is on track to become New Zealand’s third largest inbound tourism market by the end of the 2011/2012 season,” Mr Harris says.