Booming cruise industry pumps £2.25bn into the UK economy
The booming cruise industry's contribution to the UK economy continued to grow in 2014, with £2.25bn being pumped into the Treasury coffers.
Including items such as goods and services purchased by the cruise lines, and the salaries of their employees, the direct contribution grew to £2.25bn from £2.23bn the previous year, according to a Europe-wide report released by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
And the contribution to the combined economies of Europe grew by 2.8 per cent to £11.84bn in 2014, with the overall contribution of the cruise industry, including indirect items such as spending by cruise line suppliers, growing by 2.1 per cent from £28bn to £28.7bn.
The industry created around 800 jobs in the UK in 2014, taking the total number to 71,222, and accounting for a fifth of all cruise industry jobs across Europe. The cruise industry supports almost 350,000 jobs in Europe.
The UK remains one of Europe’s biggest cruise markets, with a 25.7 per cent share of passenger numbers in 2014 – a year in which 1.64 million British passengers took an ocean cruise.
The port of Southampton retained its position as Europe’s largest embarkation and disembarkation port, with a total of 1.57 million passengers passing through the port in 2014. During the year, there were 422 cruise ship turnarounds at Southampton, each of which is estimated to contribute £2m to the local economy according to research undertaken by the port.
Southampton is one of a number of UK ports forecasting a major increase in cruise traffic in 2015, predicting that passenger numbers will jump 11 per cent to 1.75 million.
This year, the Hampshire port is the base for two brand new ships - P&O Cruises’ Britannia and Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas – while Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess, which launched in 2014, returns to Southampton for the summer 2015 season.
London Cruise Terminal, Port of Tilbury, is also seeing a large jump in cruise traffic. 2014 passenger traffic totalled 54,000 and the port is forecasting that this will almost double to 100,000 passengers in 2015, with further growth also expected in 2016.
Other ports predicting an increase in cruise traffic include Liverpool, which in May hosted Cunard’s Three Queens – the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 – and forecasts cruise passenger growth of 12 per cent to 83,000 in 2015. Bristol’s renaissance as a port continues this year, having restarted cruise ship sailings in 2013 for the first time in 20 years, with passenger traffic forecast to grow 11.5 per cent in 2015 to 20,000.
Cruise traffic to islands around the UK mainland is forecast to grow strongly too with cruise traffic through Guernsey port predicted to jump 20 per cent to 130,000 and through Orkney by 17 per cent to 79,000 passengers.
Andy Harmer, Director, CLIA UK & Ireland, says: “This report reaffirms the UK’s position not only as one of the world’s major cruise markets, but as a country which continues to reap multi-billion pound dividends from the cruise industry. Across the UK, ports and the cruise lines that serve them are playing an ever-increasing role in boosting the economies that surround them.”
Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA Europe’s Chairman, said: “The cruise industry is making a vital contribution to Europe’s economic recovery. In 2014 the cruise industry injected nearly €40bn into the European economy and sustained almost 350,000 European jobs, over 80,000 of which were in the manufacturing sector. These record results are something we’ve all worked hard for and we should celebrate and build on.”
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