The honour sees Akaroa voted ahead of all other New Zealand and Australia cruise destinations for the October 2016-April 2017 season in the review-rating based awards. Last year’s inaugural Cruisers Choice Awards’ top three were Sydney, Tauranga and Auckland, ahead of Akaroa in fourth. Cruise Critic, TripAdvisor’s cruise site, is the world’s largest online cruise review and planning resource.
ChristchurchNZ Industry Partnership Manager, Caroline Blanchfield, said the recognition for Akaroa was great for the sustainability of the region’s cruise sector.
“It’s fantastic news – Akaroa has had a huge surge in cruise visitors since the Christchurch earthquakes which has been great for the village, despite the added strain on the infrastructure there. This award shows that visitors find the town a beautiful place to visit and are obviously enjoying the Akaroa experience and its people,” she said.
“The reputation Akaroa has consolidated as a favourite cruise destination will only help to sustain business growth in the town and the wider Canterbury region. We can also look forward to the $56 million Lyttleton cruise berth opening in 2019 which will broaden cruise visitor access to our region even further for visitors on large cruise vessels.”
It’s fantastic news – Akaroa has had a huge surge in cruise visitors since the Christchurch earthquakes which has been great for the village, despite the added strain on the infrastructure there. This award shows that visitors find the town a beautiful place to visit and are obviously enjoying the Akaroa experience and its people,”Caroline Blanchfield - ChristchurchNZ Industry Partnership Manager
Approximately 147,000 passengers visited Canterbury during the October 2016-April 2017 cruise season with added value of $57 million to the regional economy.
ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive Tom Hooper said the impact of cruise ships visiting Canterbury ports had wider and longer-term significant positive benefits for the regional economy.
“Close to 50 per cent of cruise passengers return to a cruise destination they enjoyed for a longer holiday,” he said.
“It's all about the experience they have when they're here, and Akaroa is obviously doing that well, despite the challenges it has faced with infrastructure coping with the large visitor numbers is has seen.”
Cruise New Zealand Chair Debbie Summers said the award was a reflection of Akaroa making the most of its assets and providing a fantastic visitor experience.
“This award really reinforces Akaroa as an international cruise destination and, together with the other New Zealand destinations recognised in these awards, puts New Zealand in a strong position to further grow the cruise visitor sector around the country.”
Cruise Critic UK managing editor, Adam Coulter, said picking a cruise itinerary could prove difficult, particularly with an increasing number of accessible destinations.
“Analysing first-hand visitor feedback of cruise destinations world-wide enables us to identify those they loved most, which is true testament to their appeal. By sharing this insight, we hope to inspire and guide travellers to select a cruise itinerary, which they too, will love.”