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Cruising into Marlborough

The annual New Zealand Cruise Association conference is being hosted in Marlborough this week (23-24 August 2018), and will focus on the destination's huge growth.


International visitors arriving into Marlborough by cruise ship spent $18 million in Marlborough during the 2017/18 cruise season, up 80% on the previous year. Marlborough’s growth was one of the highest in the country, four times that of the national average.

There are 175 domestic and international delegates registered to attend the conference. The delegates include international cruise line representatives from Carnival Australia, Princess Cruises, Silverseas, Royal Caribbean Cruises along with representatives from the Pitcairn Islands, Samoa and Tonga. 

They will be joined by representatives from most New Zealand port regions, Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand, DOC, Tourism Industry Aotearoa, cruise ground handlers and experience and transport providers.

There will also be a delegation of international and New Zealand cruise industry media attending the conference. The conference programme includes a Port Marlborough hosted tour of the Port in Picton and welcome function at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre followed by a full day conference at the Marlborough Convention Centre.

Business Events Marlborough, a business unit of Destination Marlborough, teamed up with Port Marlborough to lead the region’s successful bid to host the 2018 conference in Marlborough. 

Destination Marlborough general manager Jacqui Lloyd, who has recently been appointed to the board of the Cruise New Zealand Association, says hosting the conference in Marlborough gives the region the opportunity to demonstrate why it is a strong performer as a cruise destination.

'We deliberately set out to influence the timing of the conference for the end of the week so that we could encourage delegates to stay on for the weekend to see for themselves why Marlborough is a brilliant cruise destination.'

Port Marlborough chief executive Rhys Welbourn said that Marlborough hosting the NZ Cruise Association annual conference is a huge coup.

'We at the Port are extremely proud to be a part of it. Port Marlborough has invested heavily in cruise infrastructure over the last few years, including facilities which allow us to accommodate the largest cruise vessels in the world. We’d love to see vessel visits continue to increase as this is a good news story for the region as a whole.