UK cruise industry growth

Passenger numbers increase from 1.7 million to 1.72 million in 2012

By Rebecca Gibson |

The Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) has released UK cruise industry figures estimating that 1.72 million British tourists will take an ocean cruise in 2012. This indicates an increase of 20,000 passengers on the 1.7 million Britons who cruised in 2011.

Despite a challenging year following the Costa Concordia tragedy in January and a subdued economic climate in the UK, the PSA said the figures demonstrate that the cruise industry has remained resilient, while many other sectors of the travel and tourism industry have faced decreasing markets. Approximately eight out of ten UK cruise sales are achieved by British travel agents and are organised by cruise advisors connected with the Association of Cruise Experts.

“There is no doubt that the cruise industry faced a unique set of challenges this year; but our UK figures show that the cruise sector has outperformed the rest of the holiday sector,” said PSA director William Gibbons. “The sheer diversity of cruises offered by our 41 members, coupled with unrivalled value for money, has helped to attract the ‘new to cruise customer’, key to boosting growth within our sector.”

The PSA also predicts that 2013 will see an estimated 2 per cent rise in the number of UK cruise passengers to 1.76 million as a result of continued investment in new and refurbished ships and the popularity of ex-UK port cruises.

Gibbons added: ”The undiminished investment in new ships and product innovation is also encouraging with six new cruise ships commissioned in 2012, and six more are scheduled for launch in each of the next three years. There is no doubt that value will still be an absolute priority for UK holiday makers in 2013 and a cruise is one of the best ways to have a unique experience whatever your holiday budget.”

According to the PSA, the global cruise industry has indicated its continued confidence in growth by investing nearly US$5 billion on seven major newbuilds in 2012 and a further US$3.2 billion on six more ships scheduled to enter service in 2013. In total, more than US$12 billion will be invested in building new cruise ships over the next three years.

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