The cruise industry is now worth £2.58 billion (€3.26 billion) per year to the UK economy, according to a new report by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
CLIA’s annual European Economic Contribution Report revealed that the cruise industry’s direct contribution to the British economy – including items such as goods and services purchased by cruise lines and employee salaries – grew by 3.3%, making it the highest on record.
Meanwhile, employment in the UK cruise industry grew by 4.1% to 73,919 jobs and accounted for 20% of the market share in Europe. An estimated 16,397 of these employees were directly employed by cruise lines and earned a combined total of €605 million (£479 million).
The port of Southampton has maintained its position as the number one embarkation and disembarkation port in Northern Europe, handling 1.75 million passengers in 2015. In total, British cruise ports processed more than one million UK and international passengers, more than twice the number on 2010.
“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’s vice president of operations. “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 worldwide fleet.”
CLIA’s report also found that the cruise industry’s economic output in Europe reached €40.95 billion (£32.22 billion) in 2015, up 2% from 2014 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. Around 10,000 new jobs were created across Europe, which means that 360,571 Europeans are now employed in cruise and cruise-related businesses. Wages and other benefits for European workers reached €11.05 billion (£8.72 billion).
“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.”