Friday, 19 September 2014

Spending in U.S. cruise sector tops $20 billion

Spending in U.S. cruise sector tops $20 billion

By Tom Stieghorst
For the first time, the money spent in the U.S. cruise sector exceeded $20 billion last year, according to a CLIA study of the cruise industry’s economic impact.

That includes direct spending by passengers, crew and the cruise lines on items such as provisions, excursions, meals on shore and pre-and post-cruise hotel stays.
The $20.1 billion in direct spending mushrooms to a $44 billion economic impact when the effects of indirect spending and tertiary-level multipliers are factored in, the study says. In a separate study done for CLIA for the first time, researchers estimated the global cruise industry’s economic impact at $117 billion.

CLIA has commissioned an annual study of the cruise industry’s economic impact for at least a decade. This year’s 106-page report has in-depth data on spending, as well as state-by-state breakdowns for each economic category. As in the past, 10 states account for 80% of the economic activity in the cruise business, with Florida, California and Texas leading the way.

The number of passengers who traveled globally last year on North America-based lines rose 3.9%, to 17.6 million, CLIA said. The industry’s fleet, net of retirements, increased by 1 ship to 178 ships with a combined capacity of 338,505 lower berths,

An estimated 10.7 million U.S. residents took cruise vacations throughout the world, accounting for 61% of global passengers. Departures from U.S. ports totaled 9.96 million, a 1.3% decline, as more ships in the U.S. fleet operated outside U.S. waters, particularly in Asia, Australia and the Pacific islands.

Another significant finding in this year’s report is that employment generated by North American cruise lines has exceeded the level it reached before the 2008-09 economic downturn.

Jobs in the U.S. attributed to CLIA member lines (excluding river cruise lines) reached 363,393 last year, compared to 357,710 in 2008. The total plunged to 313,998 in 2009 and had only recovered to 356,393 by 2012.

When it comes to jobs directly held by cruise line employees, that total reached 147,898 last year, the study said. Cruise line employment peaked in 2007 at 158,376.