An annual survey revealed that global cruise tourism was forecasted to surpass pre-pandemic totals this year, with the industry growing by almost 20 percent by 2028.
According to the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) 2023 State of the Cruise Industry Report, cruise tourism is expected to reach 106 percent of 2019 levels this year, with 31.5 million passengers sailing.
The cruise industry continues to be one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors, jumping from 29.7 million in 2019 to a predicted 36 million by 2024, 37.2 million by 2025 and 39.5 million by 2027.
He added: “Cruise is expected to recover faster than the larger tourism segment.
UNWTO guidance for international tourist arrivals in 2023 is expected to be 80% to 95% of 2019 levels, our most recent forecast for cruise passengers is expected to be 106% of 2019 levels in 2023
— CLIA | Cruise Lines International Association (@CLIAGlobal) March 29, 2023
Data found that global capacity is predicted to grow by 19 percent to more than 746,000 berths from 2022 to 2028. Research also showed that 85 percent of those that have cruised will sail again, six percent higher than pre-pandemic totals.
Cruise passengers are making a positive impact, as 63 percent of respondents said they have returned to a destination first visited via cruise ship. Travelers also spent an average of $750 per person in port cities throughout a typical seven-day voyage.
North America remains the most significant source market, but the industry as a whole has seen a major upswing, with the Mediterranean seeing a massive increase and the Caribbean remaining the top destination for cruise passengers.
“While I applaud the findings of the CLIA State of the Cruise Industry Report, I remain troubled that the price of cruising is at an all-time high,” Scott Lara of TheCruiseGenius.com said. “My concern is that the price of cruising may be out of reach of many Americans.”
“If cruise lines stop increasing prices, I feel that cruising will be a great vacation option for singles, couples and families,” Lara continued.
The CLIA study revealed the future of the cruise industry is the younger generations, with GenX and Millennials being the most enthusiastic about planning a voyage. Younger travelers are also using travel advisors to book cruises at a higher rate than other generations.
As part of an industry-wide effort, cruise lines are using technology, infrastructure and operations to decarbonize, with multiple pilot projects underway and new propulsion technologies being planned and tested.
Data also showed that 60 percent of the ships scheduled to debut between 2023 and 2028 would rely on liquefied natural gas (LNG) for their primary propulsion.
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