The growing popularity of cruise holidays amongst Australians is putting incredible strain upon Sydney Harbour, according to Carnival Cruises. The cruise line is calling for Government investment to ensure Garden Island can accommodate an overflow of ships during peak periods.
The cruise line is concerned that, unless sufficient action is taken, the entire Australian cruise industry could be compromised and growing popularity may be reversed in the face of stressful congestion and increased embarkation times.
A spokesperson for Carnival Cruises explained: “Carnival Australia has long advocated shared use of Garden Island to accommodate the overflow of visiting cruise ships. While there has been some progress in this regard, we are simply seeking the certainty of long-term access to Garden Island… bearing in mind that cruise itineraries are developed over a two-year horizon.”
The necessity for a speedy resolution was demonstrated earlier this month, when three ships were forced to wait mid-harbour at Athol Buoy before arriving at the Overseas Passenger Terminal. Tourism Minister, Andrew Robb, explained there is a two-year agreement with the Australian cruise industry to currently allow three ships to stop at the island every year. There are plans to discuss the potential of increasing this number.
“The cruise industry is a high-yielding segment of the tourism industry, growing at an average rate of 20% per annum.”
The tourism spokesperson for the opposition, Steve Whan, agrees that an expansion of Garden Island’s responsibilities is necessary: “The Prime Minister should understand how important a vibrant and productive harbour is.”
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Travis Simon and Michael Fowler