A record 23 million passengers are expected to sail on cruises this year, according to Clia’s annual State of the Cruise Industry report.
The association estimates a 4 per cent increase on 2014’s 22.1 million cruisers, with 61 per cent of North American Clia-certified travel agents reporting an increase in 2015 bookings over this time last year.
In 2013, the global economic output of the cruise industry was more than $117 billion; the industry supported nearly 900,000 jobs and contributed to $38 billion in wages.
The report also found that cruise lines’ remarkable retention rate is set to continue, with 62 per cent of customers estimated to be return cruisers and 69 per cent considering a cruise to a better value than a land-based holiday.
Adam Goldstein, Clia chairman and president and chief operating officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises, said: “From new ports around the globe to the investment by Clia’s member cruise lines in new, innovative ships, it’s an exciting time for the cruise industry and cruise passengers.
“This year will prove to be another step forward for the entire industry as our members continue to strive to make cruising the best overall vacation experience.”
Clia also found that travel agents remain key to cruise travel: while online booking has changed how some consumers make purchases, travel agents continue to be the most popular way to book a cruise, with 70 per cent of cruisers using a travel agent to plan and book holidays.
Cruise Adviser’s second print edition – following on from December’s Ex-UK special and focusing on river cruising – is out February 25.