Record numbers of Europeans are taking a cruise holiday with all countries reporting growth in 2009. Figures released in March by the European Cruise Council (ECC) at the Cruise Shipping Miami Conference show nearly 4.95 million passengers took a cruise holiday, a 12% increase on the previous year. The UK continues to top the list with the greatest number of passengers with Germany breaking the million passenger figure for the first time.
The UK market has doubled in the past nine years, with 1.53 million British passengers taking a cruise in 2009, representing 31.5% of the market. Germany continues to show strong growth in second place with just over 1.02 million passengers and 21% of the market. Italy, the third largest cruise market in Europe, saw a 16% increase to 790,000 passengers while Spain, with increased capacity from its national brands, showed a significant 26% increase to 627,000 passengers in 2009.
The Mediterranean and Atlantic Islands continued to be the most popular destinations with 2.8 million passengers visiting the region in 2009 – a market share of 57%. Northern Europe showed impressive growth with a 20% increase in the number of cruise visitors to 884,000 while the Caribbean and the rest of the world accounted for 1.23 million passengers, an increase of 19% over the previous year.
David Dingle, chairman of the ECC and chief executive officer of Carnival UK, said: “The European cruise industry has worked hard to position cruising as a mainstream holiday choice and it is therefore rewarding to see all our member countries reporting growth during a major downturn in the world economy. However, the industry still faces many challenges including environmental regulations and taxation but as I hand over the chair of the ECC to Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Chairman of Silversea Cruises, I predict the industry will continue to thrive with still greater choice and diversity for the millions of European cruise passengers.”
More news in Sea Breezes Magazine - April 2010 Issue
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