The importance of cruise to the economy

The cruise industry creates jobs and opportunities for local communities around the world. Compared to 2019, passenger embarkations dropped by 81%, cruise-supported jobs by 51% and the total economic contribution fell by 59% in 2020. This shows the pandemic’s far-reaching effects on the wider cruise community and underscores the importance of cruise tourism to economies around the world.

Industry-leading protocols are facilitating the resumption of cruise tourism around the world, which is putting people back to work and reinvigorating local and national economies. More 75% of our member’s ocean-going cruise capacity has now returned to service and nearly 100% is projected to be operating by August 2022.

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.

Approximately 60% of cruise-related businesses and organisations are hiring.

State of the Cruise Industry report 2022

Cruise resumption is driving economic recovery

The suspension of cruising in 2020 had far-reaching effects across many communities. Furloughs and redundancies were common within the wider cruise community as a result of the pandemic, affecting real people and families around the world. Ports, destinations, service providers, tour operators and travel agents, as well as hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses were impacted. The good news is that the responsible resumption of cruise tourism is driving economic recovery, and although about 70% of cruise-related businesses and organisations reported layoffs and furloughs as a result of the pandemic, approximately 60% are now hiring.

2022 is a pivotal transition year for the cruise industry, with full recovery projected in 2023. Take a look at some of the stories from people who’s jobs are supporting by cruise tourism. You can also read our full State of the Cruise Industry report 2022.

Alex Fraile, tour guide, Palma

“Cruise tourists are the tourists every destination wants to have; a tourist who is aware and sensitive to the environmental and cultural traditions. They breathe life to the island and support thousands of jobs.”

Opi, shop owner, Santorini

Opi runs a tourist gift shop in Santorini, Greece. Her business relies on cruise tourists.

Luis Lluiz, piano tuner, Barcelona

Perhaps not the most common cruise-related career, but Luis tunes the pianos on cruise lines at Spain’s biggest cruise port.

Nikos, tenderboat captain, Santorini

Nikos is the captain of a tenderboat and shuttles cruise guests between a cruise line and the port.