WASHINGTON — The cruise industry had a better than expected year in 2016, says CLIA, reaching 24.7 million passengers globally and surpassing earlier ocean cruise passenger projections of 24.2 million.
The good news doesn’t stop there – based on current new vessel launch schedule and expected regional deployment, another positive year of growth is anticipated for 2017, with a passenger forecast of 25.8 million.
“One of the many reasons that the cruise industry continues to thrive is because of the personalization it is able to offer to its guests from around the world,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “Never before have I been a part of or seen an industry that is so good at listening and reacting to what its customers want, and this is why we are going to see our industry continue to grow.”
The top cruise destinations in 2016 were: the Caribbean (35%); Mediterranean (18.3%); Europe without Mediterranean (11.1%); Asia (9.2%); Australia/New Zealand/Pacific (6.1%); Alaska (4.2%); and South America (2.5%).
Much of the industry’s growth can be attributed to the Asian market, which enjoyed a 38% increase from 2015. The increased capacity in the region, combined with travellers in this region going on shorter and more frequent cruises, has kept this marketplace at the top of emerging markets.
Globally, the 2016 CLIA fleet was comprised of 458 ships and welcomed nine new ocean ships and 17 new river vessels for a total of 26 new ships. These new ships represent an additional 28,000 passenger capacity.