The cruise industry is set to sail through 2015 with ease, according to the latest report by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which estimates that a record 23 million passengers are expected to board a liner this year.
CLIA’s annual State of the Cruise Industry Report reveals that the Asian market is the fastest growing destination with the Mediterranean coming in second.
In the meantime, in efforts to make cruise travel more attractive, companies are offering 1,000 ports of call in new, exotic locations while CLIA member cruise lines are set to launch 22 new ocean, river and specialty ships in 2015, a total investment of over 4 billion dollars.
“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,” said Adam M. Goldstein, CLIA chairman and president/COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
“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.”
In 2013, the cruise industry contributed over 117 billion dollars to the global economy, supporting some 900,000 jobs and paying out 38 billion dollars in wages.
Underlining the significance of the industry, the CLIA report identified seven outlooks for 2015.
According to the report, travelers will continue to sail as they are satisfied with prior cruise experiences. A total of 62 percent are return cruisers and 69 percent ranked cruising as a better value than a land-based vacation. CLIA member ocean passenger volume is projected to increase to 23 million in 2015, a 4-percent increase over 2014 estimates of 22.1 million.
Size doesn’t matter, compared to five years ago, the focus now is less on size and more on unique design and amenities on liners.
Specialty cruises high in demand: luxury yachts, elegant ocean liners and the newest river cruises grew by 21 percent annually from 2009 to 2014.
The Caribbean still tops demand with over a third of the global deployment capacity market share in 2015. The Mediterranean is also growing as a destination, as well as other regions including Asia and Australia. In 2015, 52 ships will provide 1,065 Asian cruises with capacity for 2.17 million passengers.
Global experiences the new thing: an increasing number of passengers are looking for something different. CLIA’s member cruise lines visit some 1,000 ports worldwide, including UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Travel agents continue to be the most popular and best way to book a cruise with seven out of 10 cruise travelers (70 percent) calling on their services to plan and book cruise vacations.
Passengers pointing the way: The cruise industry is responding to customer demands with key innovations.
With 40 years experience, CLIA represents the interests of cruise lines and travel agents and is engaged in providing travel agent training and marketing communications. It is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia.