Published on : Monday, October 23, 2017
Sydney is in the top list for the cruise tourism in Australia, but its capacity problems are raising concern which is slightly decimating the tourism industry.
The Sydney Harbour has the breathtakingly big, blue and beautiful, but its bridge is too low and its berths too few for the entire cruise ships that want to come calling, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.
Cruise Lines International Association also said that this capacity problem at Australia’s gateway port is holding back an even bigger expansion of the lucrative cruise ship industry.
With the industry making a record 5.3-billion-Australian-dollar ($4.2 billion) contribution to the Australian economy in the fiscal year to June 30, 2017, that means finding more space for cruise ships in Sydney is a main concern for both cruise line operators and the New South Wales State Government, which is creating a tourism push in revenue generation .
There is one potential solution is for the largest cruise boats to share space with Australian warships at the Garden Island navy base, which occupies a prime piece of the Sydney Harbour foreshore, about 1km east of Circular Quay. That would require a major shift in thinking for the Royal Australian Navy, which uses Garden Island as part of its East Fleet base and has been operating there for more than 100 years.
While the best spot for a cruise liner remains the Circular Quay Overseas Passenger Terminal, it is able to house only one large ship at a time, which means that slot is always at a premium.
There is a second terminal at White Bay further up the harbor, but to reach it means passing under the Harbour Bridge and its 49-meter clearance limit.
That is way too low for the latest generation of mega-sized cruise boats, which can carry more than 5,000 passengers.
The 225,000-metric ton Oasis-class ships of Royal Caribbean International have 16 passenger decks and are 72 meters above the water at their highest point.
Even Royal Caribbean’s smaller 167,000-metric-ton Ovation of the Seas, which visited Sydney for the first time last December, stands 50 meters high, which means it, too, is unable to pass under the bridge.
The 2016-2017 cruising season from September to May, more than half a million passengers sailed into Sydney on a record 344 cruise ship visits, up from 311 ship visits in 2015-2016.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz said that Australia is one of the world’s most appealing cruise destinations for global cruise lines, but this problem can give a slight hunch for the decrease in the tourism revenue generation, if this problem cannot be solved.