Cruise ship tourism

Cruise ship tourism offers opportunities for Tasmanian tourism businesses, especially those offering tours or attractions. A range of vessels visit Tasmania including: expedition cruise ships, boutique or luxury, mid-size and mega-ships.

How to work with cruise

There are lots of layers to the cruise industry and it can be confusing if you have not worked with the sector before.

A guide has been prepared for Tasmanian tourism operators looking to offer tourism products to the cruise shipping market. It provides information on how to deliver shore experiences to passengers, who to work with, and how the cruise distribution system works.

The guide also provides information on different cruise lines and their passenger demographics as well as key contacts and useful links to further information.

Download the Tourism Industry Guide - How to work with cruise 2023-24.

Cruise strategy

The Blueprint for Sustainable Cruise Shipping in Tasmania 2019-22 was released in August 2019 and is the current strategy for cruise.

Pre-COVID-19, the cruise sector experienced rapid growth globally and in Tasmania. This generally included all types of cruise and in Tasmania, there was particularly strong growth in the expedition cruise market with increasing requests to visit remote and regional areas. To manage these requests a review of the State’s regional and remote anchorages commenced in 2019, and was paused until 2023.

While cruise ships have been valued by many sectors of the tourism industry and the broader economy, there have been concerns expressed about the scale of growth and future projections. Between 2012 and 2015, the number of cruise ship days in Tasmania averaged around 60 per season, which increased to almost 200 in 2019-20.

A new Tasmanian cruise strategy is under development and will align with Tasmania’s 2030 Visitor Economy Strategy.

Tasmania has a vision to be a responsible and sustainable tourism destination. We want to strategically manage Tasmania as a cruise destination and partner with cruise companies that align with our destination brand and are willing to work with us to provide the best value proposition for Tasmania’s visitor economy and the broader community.

Informing the new strategy is research conducted by KPMG into The Value Proposition of the Cruise Market for Tasmania. KPMG was contracted by the Tasmanian Government to undertake this research in 2022 with the purpose of providing an evidence base to improve understanding of the impacts and value of cruise shipping and its segments in Tasmania through a triple bottom line approach, assessing the economic, environmental and social impacts.

Key insights from this research include:

  • The highest economic return from cruise ships is in passenger spending in retail and hospitality businesses in port areas, largely derived from luxury, mid to large cruise ships.
  • Shore tours drive the dispersal of economic benefits beyond port areas and participation by cruise passengers in shore tours is primarily determined by the length of time a vessel spends in port and the accessibility of the attraction or destination.
  • Environmental costs increase with ship size and are mostly incurred through vessel emissions. It was noted that these impacts have reduced significantly over recent years through compliance with international standards and the use of scrubbers in port.
  • Social costs are largely due to the impact on preservation value by expedition ship visits to remote and environmentally sensitive areas. 
  • Consultation identified a perception that cruise passengers create congestion and crowding at popular sites in peak season. Often arriving in groups, cruise ship visitors tend to create a spike in visitation and for sites where crowds are difficult to disperse, for example, Salamanca Markets, this increases the crowding cost.
  • Crowding costs are higher for cruise visitation to regional communities, where cruise passengers arrive in groups at one time, also loading regional infrastructure not designed for volumes of people.
  • Port charges returned to TasPorts are largely driven by vessel size.
  • Tasmanian producers are benefitting from the cruise sector through the provisioning of ships, and homeporting maximises this benefit.
  • Luxury ships present a compelling value proposition for Tasmania in that they are smaller vessels, offer a high net benefit per typical voyage and minimise social and environmental costs.
  • Expedition ships account for the most ship visit days in any season and have the highest per person contribution – yet this segment has the lowest value proposition of all cruise types based on overall volume.
  • The mid to large category of vessels consists of a wide variety of cruises some of which offer limited return and others a strong value proposition.  International cruises that often are on extended journeys contribute the highest net benefits per voyage to Tasmania.
  • Mega-ships have the largest number of passengers of all vessel types, however, the lowest net benefit per passenger per voyage and highest environmental costs due to ship size. Their value proposition largely lies in their passenger spend on retail and hospitality businesses.
  • Macquarie Island, managed by PWS, provides an example of how effective management can preserve nature and generate revenue to support conservation and management activities.

In response to the findings of this work, there are a number of actions the Government is taking immediately to improve the value proposition of the cruise market for Tasmanian businesses, our communities and our beautiful wild areas. The announcement in relation to these actions can be accessed here.

Related information and industry resources


The Tasmanian Ports Corporation (TasPorts) is a registered, private company fully owned by the Tasmanian Government. TasPorts is responsible for the operations and management of all ports in Tasmania and facilitates trade for the benefit of Tasmania through the commercial provision of infrastructure and services.

For more information see TasPorts.

Shipping agents

These agents represent cruise lines in a particular country or port for all matters relating to cruise ship calls. They secure berths and anchorages, arrange for stores and bunkers and organise for Customs and Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) to visit the vessel.

See Shipping Industry Suppliers

Shore excursion companies

Shore excursion companies, also known as Shore Ex or ground operators, design day tours for passengers by packaging a range of products. They then sell these tours to cruise lines for sale on board the ship prior to arrival. 

For information on how to work with Shore Excursion companies, including their contact details download the Tourism Industry Guide - How to work with cruise 2023-24.