Speaking at the Madrid International Cruise Summit, Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA Europe Chairman for the past three years and MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, announced a forecast of continued growth for the cruise industry in Europe, in spite of current global economic austerity.
Since 2008, the European cruise industry has grown by a staggering 49 percent, and the industry continues to progress each year. In 2015, 123 cruise ships from 39 cruise lines operated in European waters carrying a total of 6.6 million passengers, an increase of 3% from the previous year.
European ports also saw a 4.5% increase in the number of European passenger embarkations, bringing the total to 6.12 million European passengers. European cruise travellers account for 28.4 percent of the global passengers (23.19 million in 2015).
Germany and UK both provide over 27 percent of European passengers each, followed by Italy with 12.3 percent, France with 9,3 percent and Spain with over 7 percent.
The remaining 19 percent is shared between the rest of Europe. Leading European markets by country of embarkation are Italy with 32.7 percent, followed by Spain 20.9 percent, UK 17.3 percent, Germany, 9.6 percent , France 5.1 percent and Greece and Denmark over 3 percent.
As more cruise ships are expected to be delivered to European operators, the cruise vacation market will continue to expand in 2016 and beyond. Europe’s shipyards have 48 orders to be delivered by 2019 to international cruise lines and 75 by 2026.
Looking at the European economic contribution, the cruise industry provides a significant boost to local economies, reaching in 2015 almost 41 billion euros in total economic output, an increase of 2 percent from the previous year.
The direct cruise Industry spending in Europe amounted to 16.89 billion euros. The industry employed more than 360,000 people either directly in the cruise sector or related businesses, 11,000 more than in 2014.
These figures demonstrate that cruising has become a key contributor to the European economy by generating real jobs and wages across the entire supply chain. “Cruising is here to stay as it continues to attract more Europeans and generate economic growth," said Pierfrancesco Vago. “While the cruise industry is ready to continue to expand in Europe, we face a number of common challenges that need to be addressed to make sure the cruise industry is on the right track. We are attentive to that.”
To sustain future growth, CLIA Europe is active with policy-makers to monitor work towards a more business friendly environment and to reform the current EU Visa Code, to encourage more foreign tourists to visit Europe.
The cruise industry also needs a more consistent application of EU environmental legislation and port reform throughout the continent, to avoid creating operational barriers in European waters. CLIA Europe is active with the local authorities to demonstrate the long-term economic benefits that the cruising industry and its partners provide – beyond only tourism.
In 2016, progress is also being made on safety and ever-changing environments.
Cruise lines have the flexibility to alter itineraries and avoid specific ports and destinations to maximize the security and safety of passengers and crew.
Cruise lines work closely with security experts and authorities to constantly re-assess these risks. The ability to continue growing in Europe will also depends on its safety and security. CLIA’s Cruise Line Members and stakeholders are increasing safety measures in all European regions concerned, particularly in the popular Mediterranean region.
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