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Southampton retained its position as Europe’s largest embarkation and disembarkation cruise port last year despite a drop in numbers.
A total of 1.57 million passengers passed through the port in 2014, down from 1.68 million in 2013.
But passenger throughput is predicted to jump 11% to 1.75 million this year helped by the introduced of new ships such as P&O Cruises’ Britannia and Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, according to a Europe-wide report released today by the Cruise Lines International Association published today (Thursday).
The study shows that the UK remains one of Europe’s biggest cruise markets, with a 25.7% share of passenger numbers in 2014 – a year in which 1.64 million British passengers took an ocean cruise.
The cruise industry’s direct contribution to the UK economy, including items such as goods and services purchased by the cruise lines, and the salaries of their employees, grew to £2.247 billion from £2.225 billion the previous year.
The cruise industry’s direct contribution to the combined economies of Europe grew by 2.8% to £11.842 billion in 2014.
The overall contribution of the cruise industry, including indirect items such as spending by cruise line suppliers, grew by 2.1% from £28.043 billion to £28.659 billion.
The industry created around another 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.
There were 422 cruise ship turnarounds at Southampton in 2014, each of which is estimated to contribute £2 million to the local economy according to research undertaken by the port.
London Cruise Terminal at the port of Tilbury saw 54,000 passengers last year is forecast to almost double to 100,000 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% to 83,000 in 2015.
Bristol’s renaissance as a port continues this year, having restarted cruise ship departures in 2013 for the first time in 20 years, with passenger traffic forecast to grow 11.5% in 2015 to 20,000.
Cruise traffic to islands around the UK mainland is forecast to grow with passengers through Guernsey port predicted to jump 20% to 130,000 and through Orkney by 17% to 79,000 passengers.
Ckia UK & Ireland director, Andy Harmer, Director, said: “Today’s 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.”
Clia Europe chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago (MSC Cruises), said: “The cruise industry is making a vital contribution to Europe’s economic recovery.
“In 2014 the cruise industry injected nearly €40 billion 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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