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The growth in Australia’s cruise industry is creating great opportunities as well as challenges for the maritime and ports sectors.
The cruise industry is the success story of the moment for Australian tourism, with almost 6 per cent of the Australian population taking a cruise in 2017, contributing significant economic benefits at both the national and regional levels.
Being the world’s fifth largest market for cruise passengers, the Australian cruise ship sector contributed a total of $4.8 billion to Australian economy, supporting more than 17,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2017-18.
To fully benefit from this potential, the Maritime industry will need to continue to develop and review international standards relating to passengers and develop and review skills and training in safe operations, and search and rescue. Given the popularity of ecotourism in Australia, cruise ships will traverse environmentally sensitive areas and therefore training in environmental protection issues will be in demand. Considering that some cruise ships will operate in remote and pristine areas, training is needed to ensure that vessel operations are safe and crew members are ready to respond to unforeseen accidents.
The rapid growth in the cruise industry is also creating both opportunities and challenges for ports. Increases in the number of passengers carried aboard the largest ships are adding stress on existing facilities and challenging ports to come up with new ways of handling people and the services required to support the cruise industry.
With the cruise market’s skyrocketing popularity, there will be an increasing demand for deckhands, maintenance workers, engineers and port workers. Learning and development strategies are integral to attracting and retaining staff, with training in customer service and the safety and security of passengers a priority.