To download the 2016-17 Economic Impact Report click here:

Cruise Tourism Contribution to the New Zealand Economy 2017 – Final



Cruise is beneficial to New Zealand:

  • Regional spread
    A typical cruise itinerary tends to include Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Akaroa, Port Chalmers and Fiordland. Bay of Islands, Napier and Picton also receive a significant proportion of cruise activity.
  • Extended season
    From Australia-based world cruises, repositioning cruises, regular trans-Tasman cruises and winter cruises out of Auckland, the cruise season is from late August through to late June.
  • Reconnaissance for a more in-depth visit
    Research has shown that between 7% and 25% of passengers return within the year of their cruise for a more in-depth visit. Most of the return visitors are not surprisingly from Australia.

As cruise ships get larger and as more players enter the market, New Zealand needs to evolve with the needs of the industry by providing adequate infrastructure, more efficient processes and the ability to showcase more New Zealand ports.

The cruise statistics provided over the next tabs are collated and produced by New Zealand Cruise Association. Due to the definition of a ‘transit’ passenger, government tourism statistics do not appropriately account for all cruise arrivals. Cruise expenditure and economic contribution data are not currently measured by official tourism statistics and are based on research commissioned by Cruise New Zealand.

Cruise New Zealand is the authority on New Zealand’s cruise sector and provides the statistics in line with Tourism 2025’s tourism growth framework. The aim is to share our cruise insights to create a better understanding of the size and economic impact of the cruise sector.

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Measuring Cruise data is critical for both Cruise New Zealand and the industry led Tourism 2025 strategy in recognising and understanding the importance of its contribution to the regional and national economy. To enable this necessary insight, Cruise data as a minimum needs to be measured effectively on both a volume (passengers) and value (expenditure) basis.

Currently cruise statistics are both collated by and estimated from research commissioned by Cruise New Zealand. This is due to official government tourism statistics administered and produced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Statistics New Zealand only partially capturing or not capturing at all cruise passengers and their associated expenditure whilst in New Zealand.

The following provides a basic explanation as to why such challenges exist in officially measuring cruise passenger arrivals and expenditure.

Cruise passenger arrivals:

With significant and forecast ongoing growth in cruise passengers to New Zealand, industry concerns exist around the failure of these being fully reflected in official government statistics. Despite Cruise New Zealand obtaining and publishing data on the number of cruise passengers (visitors and crew) obtained from cruise liners manifests, Statistics New Zealand’s official international visitor statistics exclude the vast majority of these passengers.

International travel and migration statistics are generated from information collected under the Immigration Act 1987, namely electronic arrival and departure records which contain data pertaining to flight/ship, passport details, and arrival and departure cards.

Under the Immigration Act, cruise passengers arriving and leaving on the same ship within 28 days are considered to be ‘in transit’, even if they undertake shore excursions. Whilst cruise liners are required to provide a passenger manifest with basic details, passengers are not required to complete arrival and departure cards meaning no arrival and departure records are created. As a result of this, cruise passengers are not included in the arrival and departure records used to generate international travel and migration statistics.

Cruise passengers who begin or end their cruise in New Zealand are included in Statistics New Zealand international travel and migration statistics.

Cruise passenger expenditure:

Official government expenditure figures relating to international tourist expenditure are collected from the International Visitor Survey (IVS) administered by MBIE. The IVS is a sample survey of approximately 9,800 international visitors to New Zealand aged 15 years or older per year, excluding individuals whose purpose of visit to New Zealand was to attend a recognised educational institute, and are foreign-fee paying students.

Departing visitors are screened at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown airports during selected time periods for eligibility and to obtain email addresses. A link to an on-line survey is then sent to those eligible and agreeing to participate.

The obvious challenge of this current airport based approach is that it excludes the ‘in transit’ cruise passengers, who are not officially recorded as part of the international travel and migration statistics, and their expenditure from being measured at New Zealand ports. The exception to this is the small number who end their cruise in New Zealand and subsequently fly out who potentially could be captured, prove eligible and agree to participate.

As a result of this lack of cruise passenger expenditure being included in MBIE’s official IVS sample and estimate, Cruise New Zealand relies on the commissioning of research using modelling and a variety of financial based sources to estimate the expenditure and resultant economic impact.

Website – screen 30 Oct 2015 – national

© Cruise New Zealand, 2015

Website – screen 18 Aug 2015 – regional

© Cruise New Zealand, 2015