The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released the 2021 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report, revealing a renewed optimism in cruise travel.
Despite a challenging year in 2020, new research shows there is optimism on the horizon with two out of three cruisers willing to cruise within a year and 58 per cent of international travellers, who have never cruised, likely to cruise in the next few years.
“For the cruise community, there is no denying that 2020 was not the year we anticipated. Still, the industry wasted no time adjusting course to address the challenges before us,” said Kelly Craighead, president and CEO, of CLIA
“With the year drawing to a close, we are pleased to share CLIA’s 2021 report that highlights the extraordinary steps that cruise community took to develop and implement enhanced public health protocols to keep putting people first while continuing to focus on innovation and responsible tourism practices that make cruising the best way to experience the world.”
Global economic impact and passenger data
The State of the Cruise Industry report includes the 2019 Global Economic Impact Analysis underscoring the growth of the cruise industry and its contributions to the international economy prior to the global health emergency.
In 2019, cruising sustained 1,166,000 jobs equaling US$50.53 billion in wages and salaries and US$154.5 billion total output worldwide in 2019.
The analysis also found passengers spent US$385 in port cities before boarding a cruise and spend $100 in each visiting port destination during a cruise.
The cruise industry hosted a total of 29.7 million passengers worldwide in 2019, according to the analysis. North America accounts for the highest rate of cruisers with 15.4 million passengers cruising in 2019.
The analysis also found that in 2020, every one per cent loss of cruisers resulted in a reduction of 9,100 industry-related jobs. Each day of the suspension caused direct and indirect industry losses of 2,500 jobs.
“Fleet of the future” and new cruise protocols
CLIA cruise lines anticipate debuting 19 new ocean ships in 2021, resulting in a total of 270 ocean ships projected to be in operation by the end of 2021. Looking ahead, this “fleet of the future” will feature enhanced health and safety cruise protocols for the resumption of passenger operations designed to help protect passengers, crew and destinations.
From early July through mid-December 2020, there were more than 200 sailings with multiple layers of enhanced measures in place. CLIA noted the success of these initial sailings demonstrates new protocols are working as designed – to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 among passengers, crew and the destinations cruise ships visit.
The report listed crew and passenger COVID-19 testing prior to embarkation, mask wearing, physical distancing, air management and ventilation strategies, and enhanced medical capabilities as some of the new protocols implemented by cruise lines.
Spotlight on responsible tourism
As CLIA members worked to address the impacts of COVID-19, the cruise industry also remained focused on its commitment to a cleaner, more sustainable future.
The report highlights the industry’s US$23.5 billion investment in ships with new technologies and cleaner fuels to reduce carbon emissions, partnerships with local governments in key destinations, and a commitment to reducing its rate of carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 compared to 2008.
Forty-nine per cent of newbuild capacity on order will rely on LNG fuel for primary propulsion. Currently, more than 69 per cent of global capacity currently utilises EGCS, while 96 per cent of non-LNG newbuilds will have EGCS.
The report noted that 99 per cent of new ships on order will have these systems in place, bringing global capacity served by these systems to 78.5 per cent.
Fifty-eight per cent of new-build capacity is committed SSE compatibility, with 32 per cent of global fleet capacity already capable of SSE, and 25 per cent of existing capacity will be retrofitted to use SSE.
CLIA chairman Adam Goldstein said: “2020 was a year unlike any other, and I am proud of how our industry has united together to weather this unparalleled pandemic.
“As we look to 2021, I know that cruisers are eager to set sail once more, just as our industry is eager to put people back to work and create unforgettable experiences for our valued guests.”
Featured image source: iStock/cassinga