Australian cruise industry executives have backed the NSW Government’s call for market engagement as it evaluates a potential third cruise terminal in Sydney at Port Botany.
Hopes for a new cruise facility in Sydney Harbour itself was scuttled over 12 months ago when the Government released its Cruise Development Plan in July 2018, earmarking its preference for a new terminal far closer to Sydney Airport than Sydney Harbour, at Molineaux Point and Yarra Bay.
Regarded by Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayers as a “step closer” to resolving the NSW capital’s cruise infrastructure dilemma, the proposed new terminal “would address the capacity constraints we’re seeing at the Overseas Passenger Terminal,” Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance, added.
The market engagement will next consider and assess options for the new terminal, involving technical studies that will take into account the social and economic benefits, traffic and transport impacts, costs, heritage and environmental impacts at both potential sites. The proposal has already copped backlash from Bayside Council Mayor Bill Saravinovski.
“Council has already called on the State Government to reject Botany Bay as a destination for cruise ships,” The Leader quotes Councillor Saravinovski saying. “Unfortunately the government has not listened to stakeholders.”
“Council will now vigorously engage in all parts of this process to ensure our residents are not further disadvantaged by the huge impact this proposal will have on Bayside,” Saravinovski remarked.
Tourism Minister Ayers highlighted that this cruise season, which officially began this week, Sydney will welcome 317 cruise ships to the Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay terminals. “It would be great to have the option to welcome even more,” Ayers commented.
The Cruise Lines International Association welcomed this latest “positive development”.
“Additional berthing capacity is urgently needed in Sydney to ensure Australia’s cruise industry can continue to prosper into the future. Limits on available berthing space in Australia’s gateway port threaten cruise tourism growth not only in Sydney, but in destinations around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific,” CLIA said in a written statement.
Long-time supporter of the third terminal is Steve Odell, SVP and Managing Director Asia Pacific at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. NCLH is the owner/operator of three cruise companies – Regents Seven Seas Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. The former CLIA Australasia Chair welcomed the state government’s latest move to address the lack of cruise ship infrastructure.
“Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings welcomes the recent announcement from the NSW Government that it will be formally inviting the cruise sector for input on a potential new cruise terminal for Sydney at Port Botany, viewing this as a positive development,” Odell told LATTE this week.
“While a final decision remains pending, we are hoping this round of discussions and the Government’s proposed market engagement will move us closer to resolving Sydney’s serious infrastructure constraints and provide a platform to help future-proof Australia’s burgeoning cruise industry, with Sydney being an important gateway port for the Asia Pacific region” Odell remarked.
Twelve months ago Odell told LATTE that if new cruise terminal was approved, it would be at least three or four years before it commenced operation.
Adam Armstrong, Managing Director – Australia and New Zealand, at Silversea Cruises also welcomed the progress.
“The cruise industry is growing at a rapid rate and continues to deliver significant economic contribution, not only to NSW but to the whole of Australia,” Armstrong told LATTE this week.
“Sydney in particular is a premier and unrivalled cruise destination in Australia and the South Pacific and is in urgent need of an additional cruise terminal. I have long been a proponent of the Botany Bay solution and am therefore delighted that we are moving onto the next stage in the process with this as a site option.”