The cruise industry underpins the success of the European maritime sector generating €57.6 billion for European economies in 2019 and supporting around 414,000 jobs.

The value of cruise tourism

Cruise tourists add value to economies before, during and after sailing. Every 24 cruise guests supports one full-time equivalent job, and on average each guest spends €660 in port cities during a typical seven-day cruise.

This benefit is not a one-off, as 60% of people who have taken a cruise say that they have since returned to a destination they first visited on a cruise ship.

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State of the Cruise Industry report 2022

Our latest global report features new 2020 economic impact data, including critical insights concerning the industry’s recovery from the pandemic, the value of cruise tourism and the leadership and advancements in the areas of responsible tourism and maritime practices.

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A major contributor to economies

The cruise industry value chain is extensive and diverse, and includes travel agencies, hotels, tour operators, and port agents, and manufacturing, as well as companies providing on board goods and services. Critically, Europe is also a centre of excellence when it comes to building the complex, future-proof cruise ships in operation today, with thousands of people employed performing skilled labour in shipyards across Europe. The cruise industry ecosystem is not limited to specific geographic locations or port areas but expands across multiple countries. 

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Powered by a global workforce

Employing a truly global workforce, crew members are the foundation of the cruise industry. Prior to the pandemic, CLIA ocean-going cruise line members employed about 250,000 seafarers hailing from over 100 countries. As highly trained and dedicated professionals, crew members are hard at work implementing enhanced health and safety protocols that protect the well-being of those aboard the ships and communities we visit.

Many hospitality and tourism businesses in coastal communities rely on cruise tourism. Local economies are supported through a combination of direct spend, indirect spend and induced contribution.

Direct spend by guests, crew and cruise lines

Destinations benefit from expenditure by cruise passengers (retail, tours, local transit), crew, and cruise lines (food and beverages, bunker fuel, port utilities, operational and capital expenditures). Globally, direct spending was an estimated $72 billion in 2019.

In Europe, direct spend by passengers, crew and cruise lines totalled $28.8 billion or 40% of the industry’s total global direct contribution.

Indirect and induced economic contribution

Economies benefit from spending by impacted businesses and their employees (“indirect and induced output”). In 2019 the $72 billion in direct cruise tourism expenditures generated an additional $82.4 billion in indirect and induced output, and nearly 612,000 FTE jobs globally.

In Europe, the indirect and induced economic contribution in 2019 totalled $35.71 billion accounting for 43% of global output.

Total economic contribution

Combining direct, indirect, and induced contributions, cruise tourism generated an estimated $154.5 billion in total output of goods and services globally in 2019. As a result of the production of this output, an estimated 1,166,000 FTE jobs were required globally.

In Europe, the estimated total output of goods and services in 2019 totalled €557.6 billion generating 400,000 jobs.

On average each cruise guest spends €660 in port cities during a typical seven-day cruise.

State of the Industry Cruise Report 2022

European Market Report 2019

European ocean cruise passenger numbers grew by 7.5% from 2018 to 7.7 million during 2019. Germany and Italy saw double digit growth. Strong growth was also seen in the Eastern Mediterranean, up 17% to 874,000 passengers. Other areas which saw significant growth, from a smaller base, include the Canary Islands, up 13%, and the Baltics, up 15%.  While the European market grew in 2019, COVID-19 led the industry voluntarily to pause global operations. With protocols in place, and in cooperation with authorities, cruise lines have gradually resumed operations in Europe.

Read our European Passenger Report