CLIA predicts nearly 24 million passengers will cruise in 2016

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Nearly 24 million passengers are expected to take a cruise in 2016, a significant increase from 15 million just a decade ago in 2006, and the 1.4 million who cruised when the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) began tracking passengers in 1980.

Published in CLIA’s 2016 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook , the predicted figures show that the global cruise industry is expected to continue evolving at a record pace. In fact, CLIA’s member cruise lines are scheduled to launch a total of 27 new ocean, river and speciality ships in 2016, with more than US$6.5 billion being invested in new ocean vessels alone.

CLIA’s research also indicated that cruise industry expenditures generated a total US$119.9 billion for the global economy in 2014. The sector also supported 939,232 full-time equivalent employees who earned a total of US$39.3 billion in income.

“In an effort to make cruises the best overall holiday experience available, the industry is continuing to evolve to ensure there truly is a cruise for every travel style and budget,” said Cindy D’Aoust, CLIA’s acting CEO. “By creating unique ships, new experiences and access to destinations around the world, the evolution, appeal and value of cruise travel continues to drive the overall growth of the industry.”

CLIA has also released ‘Lucky 13 Cruise Industry Trends’ showcasing how the cruise industry has transformed to meet the preferences of today’s travellers. They include:

1. Rise of the river cruise – river cruises are growing in popularity and CLIA’s cruise line members are expected to add 18 new vessels to the current 170-strong global fleet in 2016, an increase of more than 10%
2. More ships, more options – there are 471 cruise ships in operation this year, and an additional 27 new ocean, river and specialty vessels will debut next year
3. On the map – Asia is the fastest growing region in the cruise industry and between, 2012 and 2014, passenger volume grew by 34% per year from 775,000 to nearly 1.4 million
4. G’day for a cruise – while Asia continues to grow rapidly, Australia has also experienced record growth, with passenger number surpassing one million for the first time in 2014
5. Cruise specialists – the cruise industry continues to leverage the expertise of cruise specialist travel agents to help guide travel decisions. Today, there are more than 30,000 CLIA-member travel agents globally compared to 12,000 travel agents in 2010
6. Connectivity and cruising – most of today’s vessels offer various wifi, text messaging and data options to help guests remain connected while at sea
7. A love for luxe – as consumers’ appetite for luxury travel continues to rise, speciality cruise lines are offering yachting experiences, concierge services, exclusive tours, gourmet dining and personal butler services
8. Brands at sea – cruise lines are leveraging the cross-promotional appeal of brands to appeal to new travellers
9. Ships are the destination – cruise ships are now considered as more than just a mode of transportation and the latest vessels offer various onboard experiences and amenities
10. Stay the night – many cruise lines are offering overnight stays at designated ports of call to enable passengers to immerse themselves in destinations
11. Grand(parent) travel experiences – cruising with a multigenerational group is becoming a popular choice for family holidays
12. Cruise voluntourism – more service-oriented ‘voluntourism’ cruises will be offered in 2016, with several lines offering shore excursions to help disadvantaged communities around the world
13. Culturally customised – cruise lines are customising cruise ships based upon passenger cultures and to pay homage to ports of call.

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