Direct contributions from the cruise industry generated around £2.24 billion for the UK economy in 2014, a rise from £2.22 billion in 2013, according to a new Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) report.
Last year, the UK’s cruise industry also created an additional 800 jobs to reach a total of 71,222, which accounted for a fifth of all cruise industry jobs across Europe.
“The report reaffirms the UK’s position not only as one of the world’s major cruise markets, but as a country which continues to reap multibillion-pound dividends from the cruise industry,” said Andy Harmer, director of CLIA UK & Ireland. “Across the UK, ports and the cruise lines that serve them are playing an ever-increasing role in boosting the economies that surround them.”
In addition, the UK remained one of Europe’s biggest cruise markets, with 1.64 million British passengers taking an ocean cruise in 2014. This figure accounted for a 25.7% share of total European passenger numbers last year.
Southampton retained its position as Europe’s largest embarkation and disembarkation port, handling a total of 1.57 million passengers and 422 cruise ship turnarounds in 2014. Each call contributed an estimated £2 million to the local economy.
This year, the port expects passenger numbers to jump 11% to 1.75 million, partially due to the fact that it will be a homeport for P&O Cruises’ Britannia and Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas. Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess will also return to Southampton for summer 2015.
London Cruise Terminal at the Port of Tilbury also expects passenger numbers to double from 54,000 in 2014 to 100,000 passengers in 2015, and even further in 2016.
Liverpool has also forecast a 12% rise to 83,000 passengers, while Bristol – which restarted cruise operations in 2013 for the first time in 20 years – expects passenger traffic to grow 11.5% to 20,000.
Passenger traffic to islands around the UK mainland is also expected to grow, with Guernsey predicting a rise of 20% to 130,000 and Orkney by 17% to 79,000.
Meanwhile, the cruise industry’s direct contributions – such as goods and services purchased by the cruise lines, and the salaries of their employees – to the combined economies of Europe grew by 2.8% to €16.637 billion last year. The industry’s overall contribution, including indirect items such as spending by cruise line suppliers, grew by 2.1% from €39.361 billion to €40.223 billion.
“The cruise industry is making a vital contribution to Europe’s economic recovery,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA Europe’s chairman. “In 2014, the cruise industry injected nearly €40 billion into the European economy and sustained almost 350,000 European jobs, over 80,000 of which were in the manufacturing sector. These record results are something we’ve all worked hard for and we should celebrate and build on.”