PORT Taranaki is aiming to attract 28 cruise visits in 2028 – the main goal of the new Taranaki Cruise Strategy.

The document is to ensure there is a co-ordinated, region-wide approach to sustainably grow the business in the region.

“We’re calling it ‘28 for 28’,” Port Taranaki general manager commercial Ross Dingle said.

“It’s ambitious, but we’ve got a record seven cruise ship visits in 2023-24, our region’s reputation is building, and we believe Taranaki has plenty to offer international visitors who are looking for a unique and memorable experience,” he said.

The Taranaki Cruise Strategy was developed by Te Puna Umanga Venture Taranaki in partnership with Port Taranaki, iwi and hapū, New Plymouth District Council, New Plymouth iSite, Taranaki Chamber of Commerce, Puke Ariki, tourism operators, and the Department of Conservation.

Former Tourism New Zealand director of marketing Tony Rogers drafted the strategy following input from 27 participants, and a steering group has been formed to guide the development of the strategy and its ongoing implementation.

The Taranaki Cruise Strategy mission is to “proactively attract and serve high-quality cruise visitors seeking new and different experiences in a uniquely Taranaki way”.

It has four strategic priorities: improve cruise capability, develop relevant product, proactively attract cruise ships, and ensure cohesive planning and action.

“We believe that through acting on this five-year strategy and having a region-wide, coordinated approach, we can develop our vision of a high-value cruise tourism offering that’s sustainable, consistent, respects the environment, boosts the economy, adds vibrancy to the community and nurtures cultural enrichment,” Te Puna Umanga Venture Taranaki general manager destination Brylee Flutey said.

“We want to ensure our tourism, retail and hospitality businesses benefit, the community is involved, and we bring the public along with us so that the cruise industry is regarded as beneficial to our region.”

Mr Dingle said Port Taranaki had the ability to cater for increased cruise vessel numbers.

“As we’re relatively new to cruise in Taranaki, we have an opportunity to grow the business in a sustainable way, with a focus on smaller premium upper-end, luxury and expedition-type cruise ships, and preservation of the environment – the sea and harbour, and our parks and natural areas,” he said.

Seven cruise ships are scheduled to visit Taranaki during the 2023-24 summer season, with the first, the Noordam, arriving on Sunday, 17 December.