The North American cruise industry’s economic impact in the U.S. grew by more than six percent in 2007, creating more than 350,000 jobs while generating $38 billion in total economic output, according to a national study released by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). In addition to the national study, the association also released the latest passenger statistics for the first half of the year. From January to June, the cruise industry saw an overall 5.43 percent increase in passengers worldwide, with occupancies at almost 105 percent.
“Two clear messages result from the 2007 economic impact study and the January-June passenger figures,” said Terry Dale, CLIA’s president and CEO. “First, the North American cruise industry continues to make a significant and growing contribution to the American economy and the industry is generating business development and investment, job creation and spending in all 50 states. Second, these positive indicators reflect the fact that consumers continue to respond strongly and positively to the outstanding value that a cruise vacation represents and the innovative product such a vacation offers.”
Dale said the economic growth is a result of CLIA member lines’ decisions to offer customers affordability, increased choice in destinations around the world, innovative onboard amenities and recreation, worldwide itineraries and more and more ports of embarkation close to where millions of Americans live.
“Even in uncertain economic periods, the U.S. consumer recognizes these factors as a strong value proposition,” Dale said. He also noted that international consumers are increasingly attracted to cruising as a result of new and additional capacity deployed in the Mediterranean and Europe. Contribution to North American cruise growth is also fueled by innovative cruise products and a favorable currency exchange for Europeans. Figures through the first half of 2008 show an impressive 31 percent increase in internationally sourced passengers.
“It has been encouraging to see sustained passenger growth and high cruise occupancies," Dale said. "While much of the passenger growth stemmed from internationally sourced guests, North American sourced passengers also posted modest year-over-year gains of 0.29 percent through the second quarter. In 1995, as little as 10.6 percent of guests sailing on CLIA member cruise lines were sourced outside of North America and, year to date, that percentage has grown to 20.5 percent. The international markets are increasingly important to many CLIA member lines and it is gratifying to see that their investment in these regions is paying off so quickly.”
The newly released 2007 CLIA Economic Impact Study, executed by Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) in Exton, PA, found that last year the North American cruise industry contributed $38 billion in gross economic output, a 6.4 percent increase over 2006, and created 354,700 American jobs, positively impacting every state in the country and almost every major industry.