SA can’t let millions of dollars cruise by: Vic’s loss could be SA’s gain

12 March, 2024

An increased Victorian tax on cruise ships is presenting a massive opportunity for South Australia to poach more cruise ships – growing our tourism sector and creating more jobs – according to RAA.  

The Victorian Government has increased the port fees and charges at the ports of Hastings and Melbourne, prompting cruise line operators like Cunard and Princess to stop servicing Australia or move their homeport to New South Wales and Queensland after the 2024-25 wave season. 

As a result, there is a risk Adelaide will become a less viable inclusion for future cruise itineraries unless there is significant investment at the Port Adelaide Passenger Terminal (Outer Harbor). 

RAA is recommending short, medium and long-term goals including: 

  • Upgrade Outer Harbour train station and amenities, including installing a dedicated pedestrian crossing at the train station (short term)
  • Expand baggage handling space and improve baggage screening procedures to cater for the ever-increasing size of cruise ships (short term),
  • Collaborate with the WA and Tasmanian Governments to develop a cruise season around the South of Australia (medium term),
  • A Federal Government review of the Coastal Trading Act, to remove tax disincentives for coming directly to Adelaide (medium term),
  • Invest in energy and refuelling infrastructure to allow multiple cruise ships to dock simultaneously (long term).
A cruise ship docked at Port Lincoln

Chief Executive Officer Nick Reade said, while there was a risk cruise line operators may see Adelaide as a less viable destination, there was also a huge opportunity to attract more cruise ships.  

“If we don’t develop a strategy and heavily invest in the Outer Harbor terminal, we might see millions of dollars in economic activity and hundreds of jobs just sail by,” Mr Reade said. 

“With the right strategy and investment, Victoria’s loss could be South Australia’s gain.  

“The popularity of cruise holidays is exploding, and South Australia needs to capitalise on that growing appetite. 

“RAA Travel has seen massive growth in the cruise line sector – with sales increasing by 160% last year. 

“Last year, the cruise industry generated $215 million for the South Australian economy and supported more than 700 local jobs.  

“We need to build on this momentum because the cruise sector is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and supports so many local jobs.

“So many tourism operators and hospitality businesses are supported by the thousands of people who stream off the ship and into our regions, like the Barossa or down to McLaren Vale.  

“The economic reach of the cruise industry spreads well into our regions, beyond just the metropolitan area.

“RAA Travel is SA’s longest running travel agency and has been around for more than 60 years – so we know an opportunity when we see one.”