Figures released today by the Cruise Lines International Association show the ever-growing appeal of river cruising has led to an 11 per cent rise in the number of UK passengers taking a holiday on waterways in Europe and further afield - rising to 166,900 passengers in 2016.
The increase in holidaymakers choosing a river cruise can be attributed to the number of new state of the art ships that launched in 2016 along with the value for money that a river cruise holiday offers.
For those keen to explore Europe’s most iconic destinations, the all-inclusive nature of river cruising overtook value for money as the most important reason for respondents choosing their 2016 sailing.
Notably, a large number of UK passengers choosing to take a river cruise have previously experienced an ocean cruise and are attracted by the different experiences and inclusive excursions available on a river cruise – an increase from 59 per cent to 79 per cent year on year.
Europe remains the most popular region accounting for 87 per cent of river cruises taken by UK passengers.
While the trend over the last five years has been for European rivers to increase market share, passengers to destinations outside of Europe increased by 15 per cent in 2016 to 22,000 passengers due to growth in Asia.
Andy Harmer, senior vice president, membership, CLIA, commented: “We have seen significant investment by companies in new, innovative ships with greater amenities on board and a wide variety of excursions included in the package.
“This coupled with an ever-increasing choice and diversity of itineraries in Europe and further afield, has led to more UK passengers opting for a river cruise holiday.”