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Cruise industry boosts UK economy by £9bn in 2017, and it’s set to get even better

Cruising boosted the UK economy by more than £9bn in 2017, according to a report commissioned by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

From the overall figure, representing around 22 per cent of the cruise industry’s “total output” across Europe, £3.4bn was spent in direct expenditures, an 18 per cent increase from two years prior, and close to a £1.3bn increase from 2009. The remaining £5.8bn was indirect and induced expenditure.

Increased confidence in the cruise industry is bringing more new ships, such as P&O Cruises’ Iona, above, arriving in 2020

Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland director, said: “The figures released today bear testament to the cruise industry continuing to make significant contributions to the UK’s economy and the multi-billion valuation shows that cruise is a major player within the travel sector.

“More Brits are choosing a cruise holiday, more cruise passengers are embarking on a cruise from UK ports and the number of ports-of-call visitors continues to increase. This, along with more jobs being created through the cruise industry, translates into great economic benefits for the country.”

The report, by the Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA), looked at tourism and employment figures during 2017. Direct expenditures were principally distributed across cruise line purchases (£2,187m), passenger and crew spending (£493m), compensation of cruise line employees (£595m) and ship repairs (£119m).

Harmer added that the success of the global cruise industry was set to continue with 24 new ships scheduled to launch in 2019 and 107 new ships on order for delivery before 2027, worth close to $60bn (£46bn).

“As the cruise industry’s confidence in the UK increases, so does the number of ships built for the UK market,” he said.

“P&O Cruises’ Iona, the largest ever cruise ship built for the British market, will launch in 2020. And Cunard revealed last year that it is building the largest cruise ship in its history.

“Furthermore, just this month Celebrity Cruises announced that its second Edge-class ship, Celebrity Apex, will be christened in Southampton in 2020 and sail a mini-season in the UK.”


A total of 1,094,000 cruise passengers embarked on a cruise from UK ports, an increase of 34,000 from 2015. More than 80 per cent of departures were from Southampton.

The UK also experienced growth in ports-of-call visits, with 1,415,000 passengers visiting a UK port in 2017, up 39 per cent from 2015. The most visited British port was Invergordon, Scotland, with an estimated 134,000 cruise passengers going ashore.

These port-of-call visits generated an additional £100m in direct expenditures such as tours and souvenirs. Passengers spent an average of £70 while in port and £160 at their port-of-embarkation.

Together, passengers and crew spent an estimated £493m at ports-of-embarkation and call, accounting for 15 per cent of total cruise industry expenditures in the UK. Cruise passengers spent an estimated £380m on airfares, port fees, lodging, food and beverage, excursions and other expenditure in the UK.


There were 37,720 roles generated by cruise-related expenditures; 17,183 Britons worked for cruise lines, either in administrative offices or as crew onboard ships. Other jobs included direct suppliers to the cruise lines and the employees of establishments that provide goods and services to cruise passengers. This paid £1.23bn in employee compensation.

Relative to 2015, the direct employment increased by 10 per cent while the wage impact increased by 17 per cent to £1.24m.

An estimated 44,690 indirect and induced jobs throughout the UK generated by the cruise industry, generating £1.54bn in employee compensation. Relative to 2015, indirect and induced employment and compensation impacts increased by 13 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.

UK employment generated by the cruise industry is also up, with an estimated 82,410 Britons directly and indirectly employed, up from 73,919 in 2015.

Posted on 21st October 2018 at 11:01 pm in CLIA | Cruise News | Cruise Lines |

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