2024 State of the Cruise Industry Report Shows Cruise Tourism Has Surpassed Historical Levels


Demonstrates its Significant Economic Contribution and Leadership in Environmental Sustainability and Responsible Tourism

New Ocean of Opportunities publication highlights the global cruise workforce and the growth of careers in cruising.

12 April 2024, Washington — Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the leading voice of the global cruise community, has released its annual State of the Cruise Industry report and a new publication, An Ocean of Opportunities workforce skills report.

The annual state of the industry report includes the release of 2023 passenger volume, which reached 31.7 million— surpassing 2019 by 7%. The report also shows continued demand for cruise holidays, noting intent to cruise at 82%. The forecast for cruise capacity shows an increase of 10% from 2024 through 2028, as cruise lines make ongoing, concrete progress in pursuit of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Cruise continues to be one of the fastest-growing and most resilient sectors of tourism— rebounding faster than international tourist arrivals—and a strong contributor to local and national economies. In 2022, cruise tourism cruise generated 90% of economic impact compared to 2019, despite passenger volumes that year at 70% of 2019 levels. Over the past 50 years, cruise tourism has demonstrated its leadership in managed tourism and is an industry that has plenty of room for continued responsible growth given cruise travel comprises just 2% of overall travel and tourism,” said Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of CLIA. “The industry also continues to lead the way in environmental sustainability and destination stewardship, with cruise lines making advancements in technology, infrastructure and operations, and in green skills training for crew.

Highlights from CLIA’s 2024 State of the Industry report include:

Cruise is Thriving:

·         Cruise tourism reached 107% of 2019 levels in 2023, with 31.7 million passengers sailing – almost two million more than 2019.

·         2024 is forecast to see 35.7 cruise passengers sailing.

·         Intent to cruise is 6% higher than 2019, with Millennials being the most enthusiastic cruise travelers of the future.

·         Global cruise capacity is forecast to grow from 677K lower berths in 2024 to 745K lower berths in 2028.

·         Each year, the fleet becomes more efficient, as cruise lines invest in propulsion technologies with conversion capabilities for future alternative fuels and utilize a range of technologies and innovations to advance their sustainability initiatives.

2022 Global Economic Impact. In 2022, cruise generated:

·         $138 billion to the global economy

·         1.2 million jobs – up 4% compared to 2019

·         $43 billion in wages

·         63% of those who have taken a cruise say that they have returned to a destination that they first visited via cruise ship for a longer stay, extending the economic impact.

For 2023, the economic impact is forecast to be even greater given the 50% increase in the number of passengers sailing in 2023 compared to 2022.

Trends in Cruise:

·         The number of new-to-cruise is increasing – 27% of cruisers over the past two years are new-to-cruise, an increase of 12% over the past year.

·         Cruises are a top choice for multi-generational travel – with more than 30% of families traveling by cruise with at least two generations and 28% of cruise travelers traveling with three to five generations.

·         Expedition and exploration are the fastest-growing sectors of cruise tourism, with a 71% increase in passengers traveling on expedition itineraries from 2019 to 2023. • Accessible tour excursions are on the rise—with 45% of cruise passengers booking an accessible tour for their most recent cruise.

·         73% of cruise travelers say that travel advisors have a meaningful influence on their decision to cruise.

“Cruise is the best vacation value there is, with incredible guest experiences delivered by a talented and dedicated multinational workforce of nearly 300,000 seafarers. To highlight the tremendous employment opportunities that cruise tourism supports around the world, CLIA has published a new skills and workforce publication, Oceans of Opportunity. With at least 56 new ships coming online between 2024 and 2028, there are vast opportunities for careers in cruise, which boasts an impressive employee retention rate upwards of 80%,” said Craighead.

Highlights from CLIA’s An Ocean of Opportunities workforce report include:

·         In 2024, cruise lines will employ a multinational workforce of nearly 300,000 seafarers representing more than 150 countries, as well as tens of thousands of employees on land.

·         94% of women seafarers work in the cruise industry.

·         Around 40% of senior leadership roles at cruise companies are held by women.

·         Among current and future workforce needs are green skills.

To view the full 2024 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report, see here.

To view the full An Ocean of Opportunities publication, see here.

About the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

CLIA is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, providing a unified voice for the industry as the leading authority of the global cruise community, with a membership comprising 55 cruise lines, including 294 ocean going cruise ships, representing 95% of the cruise sector. On behalf of its members, affiliates and partners, the organization supports policies and practices that foster a secure, healthy, and sustainable cruise ship environment, promoting positive travel experiences for millions of travelers who cruise annually. This year, CLIA forecasts that annual the number of passengers will reach 35 million passengers. The CLIA community includes the world’s most prestigious ocean, river, and specialty cruise lines; a highly trained and certified travel agent community; and a widespread network of stakeholders, including ports & destinations, ship development, suppliers, and business services.

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