Australia is set to reach its 2020 target of one million passengers, four years earlier than expected.

Speaking at the Cruise Shipping Asia Pacific Conference in Singapore last week, P&O’s parent company, Carnival Australia chief executive Ann Sherry said the objective was set five years ago as part of the country’s ten-year growth plan.

But it seems the one million mark was more than just a company goal, with Ms Sherry attributing growth to the country’s ‘daring target’.

She said: “Our experience confirms that setting a bold target and then energising our people and resources to achieving it was vital to growing the cruise category.”

Ms Sherry added that understanding market segmentation was another means of stimulating growth and “being clear about which segments we are pursuing has also been an important element of Carnival Australia’s success”.

During her speech, she also touched on the importance of port development.

She said there is a need for appropriate investment in port facilities. However, she stressed over-investment in infrastructure in concentrated areas could present new problems.

She explained: “It is essential to get the infrastructure balance right.

“It has to be functional and capable of supporting growth but it also has to be commercially viable both for the operators and the cruise shipping companies using it.”

The Cruise Shipping Asia Conference was held from 9 October to 10 October at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.