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Hawke's Bay tourism will be given a significant boost with more than 10,000 new visitors expected to visit the area after its inclusion on two new cruise itineraries.
The Carnival Australia line has now introduced a Napier stop to its offering, while the four-night New Zealand P&O Pacific Pearl cruise is set to tie in with the Tremains Art Deco Weekend. Both cruises are expected to bring bring thousands of new tourists to the region in the next year.
House of Travel Hastings & Havelock North owner Jenny Nilsson says the increase in cruise ships including Napier is good news for local businesses and tourism operators.
“It is great to see Hawkes Bay’s food, wine and sunshine being showcased to both international and domestic travellers, and it’s a fantastic opportunity for those who provide services and experiences for passengers when they visit,” says Nilsson.
She says the stunning post-earthquake architecture in the area is a strong drawcard for Napier, along with boutique wineries, fresh produce from local orchards, good shopping, and the largest mainland gannet colony in the Southern hemisphere at Cape Kidnappers.
“There is something for everybody, and we hope these people, once they have had a little taste of Hawke’s Bay, will return for a longer holiday in the future. New Zealand is about more than just Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua and Queenstown.”
Nilsson says recent figures show that 47 voyages visited the Hawke’s Bay in the 2013/14 season, with 81,000 passengers adding approximately $19million to the local economy.
The increase in local cruise offerings reflects the growing popularity of cruises for New Zealanders in general, according to House of Travel general manager of cruise, Linda Halliday.
“Globally, it’s estimated 23 million people will take a cruise this year, with around $4 billion being invested in new ships, and 20,000 new beds being added to ocean and river cruising,” says Halliday.
“In New Zealand, that trend is definitely having an effect. Passenger figures jumped by 23% in 2013 compared to the previous year, which was stronger than several other key markets, including Australia and North America.”
The increase also has a longer term benefit, with research* showing around one-quarter of passengers return within the year of their cruise for a more in-depth visit.
The Carnival Legend 10-day cruise is from Sydney return, and will visit the Bay of Islands, Auckland, Tauranga and Napier, with the first sailing scheduled to depart in December 2015 carrying 4248 passengers, and a second in January 2017.
The P&O Pacific Pearl four night Napier sea break cruise is from Auckland return, and departs on February 18, 2016.