Cruise industry contributes £2.5 billion to UK economy

17th Jun 2014
Cruise industry contributes £2.5 billion to UK economy

The cruise industry’s contribution to the British economy grew substantially in 2013, as did the number of UK jobs it supports, according to a report released today by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

The cruise industry’s direct contribution to the UK economy, including items such as goods and services purchased by the cruise lines, and the salaries of their employees, grew by 6.5% to £2.54 billion (€3.125 billion) in 2013 from £2.38 billion (€2.935 billion) the year before.

The cruise industry’s direct contribution to the combined economies of Europe grew by 4.7% to £13.2 billion (€16.2 billion) in 2013 with the UK economy the second highest beneficiary after Italy. The overall contribution of the cruise industry, including indirect items such as spending by cruise line suppliers, to the economies of Europe jumped 22% to £32.03 billion (€39.4 billion).

The number of British jobs supported by the cruise industry also grew strongly to 70,241 in 2013 – a growth of more than 4,000 jobs or 6.3%. More than a fifth of all the jobs the industry supports across Europe are now to be found in the UK, which is also home to more cruise line employees than any other European nation, being the country of residence of over a third (37.8%) of them.

The UK remains Europe’s biggest cruise market, with a 27.2% share of passenger numbers in 2013 – a year in which 1.72 million British passengers took an ocean cruise – an increase of 25,000 from 2012.


The number of British and overseas passengers joining their cruise at a UK port passed the one million mark for the first time in 2013, jumping 8% to 1,062,000, while the number of passengers on day visits to one of the UK’s 51 cruise ports jumped by 20% to 866,000.

The number of Europeans who took a cruise last year was 6.36 million, while the worldwide passenger figure was 21.3 million.

Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA Europe’s Chairman, said: “The positive results achieved this year reaffirm Europe’s position as a dynamic hub at the core of the global cruise industry. The cruise industry keeps generating great economic benefits for Europe during this crucial period of recovery, producing much-needed employment for European citizens as well as new business for its industries and revenue for its states.”

Jo Rzymowska, Chair of CLIA UK & Ireland, said: “The cruise industry’s multi-billion pound investment in UK plc is paying ever-increasing dividends for the British economy. The UK leads the field, accounting for more passengers and more jobs than any other European country and we are confident this growth in cruise travel will continue as we see new cruise ships dedicated to the UK market being introduced in 2015.”

The trend of more holidaymakers starting their cruises from UK ports saw Southampton retain its position as Europe’s largest embarkation and disembarkation port, with total passenger numbers including ‘day visits’ climbing 7.5% to 1.64 million in 2013.

Dover too welcomed many more cruise passengers in 2013, leaping 22.7% to 255,137.

Andy Harmer, Director of CLIA UK & Ireland, adds: “The cruise industry’s continued drive to offer even greater choice and quality of service is reflected in the growing number of British consumers who opt to take a cruise every year, and the contribution it makes to our economy.”


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