Carnival UK has warned bureaucrats in Brussels against bringing in legislation that makes Europe less competitive for cruise companies.

Carnival UK managing director David DingleSpeaking after the publication of the first European Cruise Council European Cruise Contribution report last week, Dingle said cruise operators must make sure tax, employment law and environmental legislation does not harm the €8.3 billion cruise industry. 

Dingle, who will take over as chairman of the ECC from Costa Cruises president Pier Luigi Foschi later this year, said the report helped demonstrate to legislators for the first time the size and the importance of the cruise industry to the European economy and member states.

“The most important thing is there is recognition that cruising is a global industry, therefore you cannot ring-fence Europe. Our ships are mobile, they can cruise anywhere in the world and they can draw passengers and crews from anywhere in the world.

“Europe wants to remains competitive in all aspects of shipping. We have to make sure European policy recognises the global position in terms of tax, employment law and environmental legislation. You cannot put in place restrictive practices to protect Europe because it will achieve the opposite.”

Europe has some of the most stringent laws governing emissions from shipping and Dingle said cruise can be “swept up” in legislation in many areas intended to regulate other industries but which is “inappropriate” for cruise.

Europe dominates the world cruise ship building industry and in 2005 the UK cruise industry spent €82 million on food and beverages and paid agents €215 million in commission.