Despite many countries counting on cruise tourism to boost local economies, recent findings released by the Bergen Municipality in Norway found that most passenger spending stays on board.
According to the study conducted in Bergen, a popular destination for fjord excursions, up to 40 percent of cruise passengers do not leave the ship while average spending by those who do is less than 23 euros. This comes in stark contrast to claims by the cruise industry that each passenger contributes an average of 100 dollars per day to local economies.
A previous study also found that cruise traveler spending has very much to do with time spent at ports of call. Generally, cruise ships stay for about eight hours at each port with exceptions.
In Greece, where cruise tourism is on the rise due to homeporting options, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said it expects cruise-related revenues to exceed 1.1 billion euros.
At the same time, however, cruise passengers to Greece spend an average 200 euros compared to more than 700 euros by other travelers. More specifically, Bank of Greece (BoG) data reveals that in 2022, a total of 4,381,876 cruise passengers generated 1 billion euros in revenues.
It should be noted however that in addition to port fees, cruise tourism also contributes to a series of ancillary services, including tour buses and local tourist sites.
Among others, as a way to boost revenues for local communities welcoming cruise ships, market experts suggest increasing charges per passenger at ports – a fee covered by cruise companies. The current fee charged ranges from 4 dollars to 14 dollars per person.
However, despite criticism, demand for cruise travel increased in the past year costing in many cases around 15 to 20 percent less than a land-based holiday before the pandemic. In efforts to attract passengers after Covid, cruise operators lowered prices, counting on onboard spending which has now reached record levels.
Indicatively, according to Reuters, in the second quarter of the year, onboard spending increased by 49.9 percent for Norwegian Cruise Lines, by 36.8 percent for Royal Caribbean Cruises and by 17.2 percent for Carnival compared with the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.