Ship part

Welcome back: What the first cruise ship in two years means for Auckland

A P&O cruise ship will sail into Tāmaki Makaurau’s Waitematā Harbor on August 12 after two long years of New Zealand’s maritime border closure, bringing an influx of business and tourism to downtown Auckland .

On July 31, New Zealand’s borders were fully reopened to include cruise ships for the first time since March 2020, when measures to control the spread of Covid-19 forced the border to close.

A spokesperson for the Auckland Chamber of Commerce said the return of cruise ships is “good news for all”, benefiting Auckland and other regions.

At present, upcoming cruise ship visits are not limited to metropolitan areas, with scheduled stops at regional ports such as Bluff, Nelson, Gisborne and New Plymouth.

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“The imminent arrival of the first cruise ship will send a welcome wave of new business and opportunity across the country,” the spokesperson said.

“The cruise ship industry previously injected around $500 million each year into the New Zealand economy, and the relaunch with multiple ports of call is a positive sign that will bring more certainty and confidence to our sectors. struggling to regain their momentum.”

According to data from Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, spending in the city center fell by more than 35% from April 2020 to February 2022, compared to the rest of Auckland, which fell by just 3.5%.

The Pacific Explorer will sail into Waitematā Harbor on August 12.

James D. Morgan/Getty Images

The Pacific Explorer will sail into Waitematā Harbor on August 12.

These figures were compared to spending when the cruise industry was in full swing, from April 2018 to February 2020.

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited said at least 20 ships carrying around 45,000 passengers will arrive in Auckland Port before Christmas 2022.

“It is exciting to welcome cruise ships back to Tāmaki Makaurau and to expand our manaakitanga to international manuhiri which will bring much needed expense and vibrancy back to central Auckland,” said Pam Ford, Director of investments and industry for Tātaki Auckland Unlimited.

“We know that many downtown businesses are ready and excited to welcome international visitors again and that visitor spending will help revitalize our downtown.”

However, there are concerns about the safety of tourists entering downtown Auckland, particularly due to an increase in family harm and excessive alcohol consumption in the area.

Auckland Central’s Acting Area Commander said “changing demographics in the city center in recent years have resulted in an increase in calls for service, particularly in cases of family harm”.

Inspector Grae Anderson, Commander of New Zealand Police Central Area Auckland, said police continued to maintain high visibility in the city centre.

Chris McKeen / Stuff

Inspector Grae Anderson, Commander of New Zealand Police Central Area Auckland, said police continued to maintain high visibility in the city centre.

Anderson said “excessive alcohol consumption” appears to be a common factor.

“Our staff continue to maintain high visibility in the city, especially on nights when more numbers come to enjoy nightlife from other parts of Auckland.”

Debbie Summers, president of the New Zealand Cruise Association, said Things last April, cruise ship staff may encourage tourists to tread carefully on certain streets and to be “extremely vigilant”.

Auckland will see an influx of cruise tourists, a welcome sight for downtown businesses.

Chris McKeen / Stuff

Auckland will see an influx of cruise tourists, a welcome sight for downtown businesses.

“Auckland was still safe, you could walk around during the day and everything was fine.

“It’s heartbreaking to see what’s going on,” Summers said in April.

P&O’s flagship Pacific Explorer is sailing from Sydney to Fiji on a 12-night cruise where it will dock at Queen’s Wharf and receive a “spectacular welcome” from New Zealand cruise industry officials.