A record four million Europeans went on a cruise holiday last year – a 17% increase on last year.
The latest figures from the European Cruise Council’s Markets Report show that the number of Europeans going on cruises has increased far quicker than predicted. The ECC had forecast that the number of cruise holiaymakers would hit four million in 2010.
Five years ago only 2.6 million Europeans took a cruise holiday and by 2006 it had hit 3.4 million.
The UK was the top source market for cruise passengers last year with 1.3 million, a growth of 11% on the previous year. Around 467,000 passengers took ex-UK cruises and 870,000 were on fly-cruises last year. This compares with 2003 when UK cruise passenger numbers were 964,000.
ECC chairman and chief executive of Carnival UK David Dingle said: “The popularity for European holidaymakers is growing faster than anyone in the industry envisaged. We’re seeing increasing numbers of cruiselines basing ships in the region, which will encourage more Europeans to cruise in future.”
The second largest source market in Europe last year was Germany, followed by Italy, Spain and France.
Germany had 763,000 cruise passengers last year, 8% growth on the previous year. Overall the country accounts for 19% of cruise passengers from Europe and is predicted to have one million cruisers by 2010, stimulated by the recent joint venture between TUI Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises for the German market and market leader Aida Cruises.
Italy had 640,000 cruise passengers last year, year-on-year growth of 24% Spain had 518,000 passengers, growth of 32% and France had 280,000 passengers, 16% growth.