European Cruise Industry Hindered by Red Tape, Inadequate Coastal Infrastructure

Europe’s cruise industry needs harmonised environmental legislation, streamlined visa procedures, coastal infrastructure investments, and improved port facilities if the industry is to reach its full potential and stop the downward trend in the continent as a destination, Cruise Lines Industry Association Europe’s Chairman Pierfranceso Vago has warned.

Figures released by CLIA Europe reveal that the cruise industry’s economic output in Europe reached a new record of EUR 40.2 billion in 2014, up 2.2% since 2013. The direct expenditures generated by the industry reached EUR 16.6 billion, up from EUR 16.2 billion in 2013.

In 2014 the cruise industry also generated almost 10,000 new jobs across Europe, with 349,000 now employed in cruise and cruise related businesses, including over 82,000 manufacturing jobs. Wages and other benefits for European workers reached EUR 10.75 billion.

However, Vago said that while further growth could be achieved, it was far from guaranteed.

”Although a record 6.4 million European residents booked cruises in 2014 last year and European shipyards with record order books for new cruise ships remain the centre of the world’s cruise shipbuilding, there are some worrying trends. For example the numbers embarking on cruises from European ports is down by 3.6% to 5.85 million,” Vago said.

”This downward trend in Europe as a destination is a result of the serious hurdles to growth, which if ignored risk leaving that potential forever locked up and risk stalling the year on year economic growth we have all worked hard to deliver. Europe needs to tackle them by implementing environmental legislation in a harmonised way, streamlining visa procedures, investing in coastal infrastructure, and improving port facilities.”

According to CLIA Europe’s 2015 Economic Contribution Report, 6.4 million European residents booked a cruise holiday in 2014, representing a 0.5% increase over 2013 and accounting for 30% of all cruise passengers worldwide.

5.85 million passengers embarked on their cruises from European ports in 2014, a 3.6% decline from 2013. Around one million passengers came from outside the Europe.

Spending on newbuilds and maintenance has risen for a third year, following a three-year decline ending in 2012.

29 new ships are on the order books of European shipyards until 2018, with a total value of almost EUR 16 billion. European shipyards saw a 12.8% increase in their revenue from new construction and maintenance from 2013.

In 2014, cruise lines spent EUR 4.55 billion on new builds and refurbishments in Europe, the third annual increase.

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