no further contribution to the local economy. For those who do come ashore, their time is much more limited. Luggage cannot be ferried by tenders either, so larger ships are unable to use Auckland as a turnaround port and instead visit only as a transit stop. This means the city loses the much greater economic benefit gained when passengers can stay longer before or after their cruise. The tender system also means larger ships do not replenish their supplies in Auckland, which results in a huge loss for providers of New Zealand food and wine, which are now common on ships’ restaurant menus. Ports all over the world have utilized dolphins as a means of increasing their cruise ship capacity with minimal impact. This is part of a worldwide effort to welcome a new generation of larger ships that will become commonplace in the global cruise sector. Currently, there are more than 100 new cruise ships on order for construction and delivery by 2027, of which almost a third are likely to be longer than the current capability of Queens Wharf and Princes Wharf. If Auckland is to continue prospering from cruise tourism, it will need to be capable of catering to this coming generation of ships.
But the effort Auckland is making to accommodate cruise ships is not just a question of fixing logistical problems. It’s also an opportunity for leaders to think about what makes a true global city – and how a healthy visitor economy can be harnessed to develop a destination’s natural vibrancy and enhance the lifestyle of its residents. This is a chance to think about how the benefits of cruising can be shared with other parts of the country and what role Auckland plays in facilitating economic development elsewhere.
“THIS IS A CHANCE TO THINK ABOUT HOW THE BENEFITS OF CRUISING CAN BE SHARED WITH OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY…”
The cruise industry is very supportive of the steps that Auckland Council has made in accommodating cruise ships. Where Auckland has a bigger opportunity is through not just tackling its capacity issues, but also thinking creatively about how to maximize the benefits that will be unlocked once they are overcome. Cities around the world have had great success in creating vibrant neighborhoods and thriving local communities by incorporating tourism into their thinking. The impact stretches throughout the economy – not only to tourism operators, but also into the dining scene, entertainment, arts, shopping and all the other elements that help make a great city for visitors and residents alike. This is an opportunity not just for Auckland, but for communities across New Zealand. Any restrictions on cruising in Auckland have knock-on effects for destinations all over the country, but through lifting them the benefits are unlocked for all. The world’s cruise lines are already conscious of the potential Auckland holds and its appeal for international visitors. The question is how the city chooses to capitalize on that interest and use it to shape its future direction.
SECOND QUARTER 2019 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 63