Cruise spending is up in a down economy in destinations visited by cruise line-members of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association.
Cruise tourism boosted revenues for ports and businesses in Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean in one of the gloomiest financial years since the Great Depression, according to an FCCA-commissioned study from Business Research and Economic Advisors.
BREA reported that FCCA-regional cruise tourism in 2008-2009 generated more than $2.2 billion in direct expenditures, 56,000 jobs and $720 million in employee wages among 29 destinations surveyed.
“This certainly is wonderful news, but it doesn’t surprise me,” Michele M. Paige, FCCA president, told association members attending the 16th Annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s Conference and Trade Show in St. Lucia. “FCCA members are known for seeing opportunities—not obstacles.”
FCCA Chairman Micky Arison agreed. “No industry is recession-proof, but the cruise industry traditionally has been recession-resistant,” said Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc.
The new study analyzed spending by passengers, crew members and cruise lines in destinations ranging from the Caribbean islands, Mexico, Central America and South America, said Andrew Moody, Ph.D., president of the Exton, PA-based research group. Among BREA’s findings:
* Cruise passengers (17.56 million) spent $1.71 billion in 29 participating destinations. An average of 52 percent of passengers bought shore excursions, generating $328 million in total payments to tour operators. Passengers also bought watches and jewelry ($634 million); clothing ($168 million) and other goods and services ($164 million).
* Crew members (3.24 million) spent nearly $289 million in the 29 destinations, mostly for clothing, food and beverages, as well as jewelry, electronics, perfumes and cosmetics.
* Cruise lines spent an estimated $279.9 million in participating destinations for port fees and taxes, utilities, navigation services and ship supplies.
“These expenditures have a direct impact on local employment and wages,” Moody said. “Local businesses… create additional jobs and income.”
BREA-surveyed destinations included Antigua & Barbuda; Aruba; The Bahamas; Barbados; Cayman Islands; Curacao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Jamaica; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Maarten; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos and U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean; Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, Ensenada and Huatulco in Mexico; Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua in Central America, and Cartagena, Colombia, in South America.
Paige noted that polled passengers said they enjoyed their cruises, a strong indication that they are likely to cruise again in the region and spend money.
“Establishing relationships among member lines and the public and private sectors of partner destinations was the reason we founded the FCCA,” Paige said. “Never has it been more important for cruise and travel partners to link arms and share ideas. That’s the spirit behind the conference we’re attending here in St. Lucia.”
A complete copy of the Economic study can be downloaded from the FCCA at: http://www.f-cca.com/study.