Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has published its annual European Economic Contribution Report, revealing that the cruise industry is now worth €3.26 billion (£2.58 billion) per year to the UK economy.
The cruise industry’s direct contribution to the British economy including items such as goods and services purchased by cruise lines and the salaries of their employees, grew by 3.3 percent, making it the highest on record.
The cruise industry’s economic output in Europe reached €40.95 billion (£32.22 billion) in 2015, up 2 percent on the previous year, and an all-time high. The direct expenditures generated by the industry reached €16.89 billion (£13.39 billion), up from €16.6 billion (£13.17 billion) in 2014.
Employment in the UK cruise industry grew by 4.1 percent to 73,919 jobs and accounted for 20 percent of the market share in Europe. An estimated 16,397 of this total were directly employed by cruise lines and earned €605 million (£479 million), the equivalent of 22 percent of the total compensation impacts for Europe. 10,000 new jobs were created across Europe, with 360,571 now employed in cruise and cruise-related businesses. Wages and other benefits for European workers reached €11.05 billion (£8.72 billion).
The port of Southampton has maintained its position as the number one embarkation and disembarkation port in Northern Europe, with a total of 1.75 million passengers passing through in 2015. It was another successful year for British ports overall; in total over one million UK and international passengers visited a British port during a cruise, a figure that has more than doubled in six years.
“The figures released today bear testament to the cruise industry’s contribution to the UK economy. Cruise may have once been considered a travel niche but the multi-billion valuation shows that cruise is a major player within the travel sector” said Andy Harmer, CLIA Europe VP Operations.
He continued: “The success of the global cruise industry is set to continue with 50 ships scheduled for delivery between now and 2019, of which 48 will be constructed in Europe. The ability to maintain continued growth has been the result of decisive investments by cruise operators in innovation and constant improvement. Every year new ships enter into service, offering innovative activities and facilities and 2015 was no exception, with a number of significant developments for the UK cruise market including the naming of P&O Cruises’ Britannia by Her Majesty The Queen; Cruise and Maritime Voyages introducing Magellan and Royal Caribbean’s new ship Anthem of the Seas joining the world wide fleet.’
“The cruise industry continues to make significant contributions to Europe’s economic recovery,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Chairman of CLIA Europe and Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises. “The impact is clear. More Europeans are choosing a cruise holiday, more cruise passengers are choosing Europe as a destination, and more cruise ships are being built in European shipyards. This translates into great economic benefits for the entire continent, including coastal areas that were hit disproportionately hard by the economic downturn.”
Europe’s economic contribution is a direct result of the impressive growth the cruise industry experienced in 2015 as it reached 23.2 million ocean cruise passengers globally.