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2010 Cruise industry economic study

2010 Cruise industry economic study

The North American cruise industry generated 329,943 jobs that contributed a $15.2 billion wage impact on the U.S. economy in 2010, a 5.1 percent increase in employment and a 7.0 percent rise in wages over 2009, according to the latest independent study commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

The total cruise industry economic impact in the U.S. in 2010 was $37.85 billion of gross output, a 7.8 percent increase over last year.

This positive economic contribution spread across every state economy via $18 billion in direct cruise industry spending, with ten states accounting for 78 percent of total employment and income impacts.
“These job numbers are good news given the challenging economy. We are pleased with the strong gains in the cruise industry’s economic contributions, and that CLIA member lines were directly or indirectly responsible for putting nearly 330,000 Americans to work,” said Howard Frank, CLIA’s chairman.

Christine Duffy, CLIA’s president, said: “As a global industry, cruise lines have managed to navigate through some tough economic times that have made vacationing decisions for millions of people more difficult. Our members have also worked through adversity created by geopolitical events and natural disasters. It is great to see the progress that was made in 2010 and this economic study demonstrates that the travel industry, and cruising in particular, matter to our economy. The cruise industry provides products that consumers value highly; the purchase of those products provides significant direct and indirect economic impact that benefits the economic well-being of Americans everywhere.”

According to “The Contribution of the North American Cruise Industry to the U.S. Economy in 2010,” prepared by BREA (Business Research & Economic Advisors) for CLIA, total industry direct expenditures with U.S.-based businesses increased by 5.0 percent to $18 billion. As a result of direct spending, the cruise industry generated the direct employment of 140,359 workers who earned $5.84 billion with U.S. businesses. In aggregate the direct employment and wage impacts increased by 4.4 percent and 6.5 percent respectively, over 2009.


The expenditures by the cruise lines and their passengers and crew generated employment, income and other economic benefits throughout the U.S. economy. These economic benefits arise from five principal sources: spending by cruise passengers and crew for goods and services associated with their cruise; shoreside staffing by the cruise lines for their headquarters, marketing and tour operations; expenditures by the cruise lines for goods and services necessary for cruise operations; spending by the cruise lines for port services at U.S. ports-of-embarkation and ports-of-call; and expenditures by cruise lines for the maintenance and repair of vessels at U.S. shipyards, as well as capital expenditures for port terminals, office facilities and other capital equipment.

State by state, the cruise industry’s economic impact varied according to the scope of cruise line operations, with the major benefactors being those states with ports of embarkation. In Florida, which accounts for 60 percent of all U.S. embarkations, the industry generated $6.3 billion in direct spending which helped create 123,255 jobs paying $5.4 billion in income. California, with 10 percent of the cruise industry’s direct expenditures, was the beneficiary of $1.8 billion in spending and 41,697 jobs. New York, with a 32 percent increase in passengers and crew visits in 2010, accounted for 6.7 percent of direct expenditures, with the industry generating $1.2 billion in spending and creating 14,833 jobs. Texas, with a 31 percent increase for last year, generated $1.1 billion in spending and 16,457 jobs. In order, the remaining top ten states for economic impact were: Alaska, Washington, Georgia, Massachusetts, Illinois and Colorado.

Florida’s pre-eminent position is largely due to its five cruise ports: Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, Tampa, and Jacksonville. Florida led a list of 15 ports of embarkation that account for 90.7 percent of total U.S. embarkations. In order, the top ten ports are: Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, New York, Seattle, Galveston, Long Beach, Tampa, Los Angeles, New Orleans. There were 9,694,000 U.S. embarkations during 2010.

The economic impact report also noted that CLIA member lines carried 14.8 million passengers in 2010, an increase of 10.3 percent, the largest year-over-year jump since 2003. Similar to the rest of the travel industry, while occupancy and demand are up year over year, rates are still below where they were before the recession. Resident U.S. cruise passengers reached the 10 million mark for the first time, with a record number of embarkations at U.S. ports. With the addition of nine new ships, CLIA lines increased fleetwide lower berth capacity to 307,707 on 176 ocean-going ships, an 8.1 percent rise. Despite the capacity increase, CLIA member line ships operated at 103.1 percent occupancy in 2010.

A Decade of Growth and Economic Contribution

In 2000, the North American cruise fleet totaled 111 ocean-going ships with a capacity of 165,381 lower berths. By 2010, the fleet had increased by nearly 60 percent, with capacity growing by 86 percent because of the introduction of larger ships.

Over the past decade the cruise industry has outperformed the national economy and the travel and tourism sector, in particular. Spending with U.S. businesses by the cruise industry in 2000 totaled an estimated $10.3 billion. These expenditures have increased by 75 percent to $18 billion in 2010. Over the same period, total economic output generated by cruise-related spending in the U.S. increased by 128 percent, increasing from $16.6 billion in 2000 to $37.9 billion in 2010. The total employment impact of the cruise industry has increased 28.4 percent during the same time.

Over the past decade, the cruise industry’s share of national economic activity and travel and tourism expenditures has steadily increased. The cumulative growth rate in direct expenditures by the cruise industry between 2000 and 2010 was 45 percent higher than the cumulative growth rate in personal consumption expenditures and 73 percent higher than the cumulative increase in direct T&T output. And, the industry’s total economic impact has grown faster than overall economic activity. Cumulative growth of the industry’s total output impact through 2010 was more than 50 percent higher than the cumulative growth of GDP and 65 percent higher than the cumulative growth of the T&T sector.

To view the 2010 Cruise Industry Economic Study Full Report and State Economic Fact Sheets visit

The nonprofit Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is North America’s largest cruise industry organization. CLIA represents the interests of 26 member lines and participates in the regulatory and policy development process while supporting measures that foster a safe, secure and healthy cruise ship environment. CLIA is also engaged in travel agent training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and desirability of cruise vacations with thousands of travel agency and travel agent members across North America.