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Top Accolade for Cruise Advocate

Date Published: 21 August 2009

One of New Zealand's top advocates for the cruise industry has been made a life member of the organisation he helped found.

Captain Craig Harris has been made a Life Member of Cruise New Zealand (CNZ), the organisation that markets New Zealand as a cruise destination to cruise lines.

"Craig has played a massive role in helping the cruise industry to become an increasingly important contributor to tourism in this country," says George Hickton, Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive.

"He was an early advocate of the potential of cruise for New Zealand, has been an outspoken spokesperson for the needs of the industry and has developed many useful initiatives."

Craig Harris is Managing Director of ISS-McKay Ltd, the leading independent New Zealand agent for cruise ship operators, handling the majority of cruise ship port calls during the New Zealand season.

He founded Cruise New Zealand (CNZ) in 1994 and has served as its chairman ever since. CNZ has played an active role in everything from the development of regional port facilities and the training of local tour guides to creating meet-and-greet programmes and raising community awareness of passenger expectations.

In 1995 Craig Harris led CNZ's first delegation to the annual cruise shipping convention in Miami and has organised regular sales missions to the United States. He helped set up the annual economic impact study. The most recent of these shows that the cruise industry generated NZD412m in direct spend during the 2007/08 season, compared to NZD77.4m in 1999/2000.

Craig Harris also championed the push to supplement Auckland's existing cruise ship terminal at Princes Wharf with another at Queen's Wharf - a project the New Zealand Government has now undertaken.

Another milestone has been cruise company Carnival Australia's decision to operate an extended four-month season in New Zealand from April next year with Australia's resident ship, the Pacific Sun.

Read more about developing the cruise sector