Italian cruise group Costa saw 2010 revenues rise by around 12% to reach almost €3 billion.
The number of passengers carried was up by 18% to 2.15 million over the previous 12 months for the organisation which includes German line Aida Cruises and Iberocruceros, operating mainly for the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking markets.
Costa Crociere president Gianni Onorato said: “Despite the fact that the economic situation is not the most favourable, European cruising remains a growth industry and continues to play a key role in terms of the creation of wealth and employment.
“Costa Crociere is the number one operator and the driving force in Europe. In 2010 the group’s ships carried more than 2 million guests and generated an economic impact – direct and indirect spending – worth €2.2 billion in Italy alone.”
The Costa Crociere fleet consists of 26 ships – 14 for Costa Cruises, 8 with Aida Cruises, 4 for Iberocruceros – with another four due to be delivered by 2013. The next addition, due for delivery at the end of the month, is new €10 million 3,800-passenger flagship Costa Favolosa. The vessel is due to be named in Trieste on July 2.
The company’s figures were released as the European Cruise Council confirmed that there were 5.5 million cruise passengers attracted to the region last year, up 10% on 2009. This represents around 30% of global cruise passengers – 18.8 million.
The UK has the most cruisers among EU countries at 1.6 million followed by Germany (1.2 million), Italy (around 890,000) and Spain (645,000).
The overall economic impact of the industry on the continent’s economy last year was €35.2 billion, including over €14 billion of direct spending, according to the ECC. The greatest beneficiaries of this direct expenditure were Italy (€4.5 billion), the UK (approximately €2.6 billion) and Germany (€2.3 billion).
European shipbuilders continue to play an important part in this expansion with 23 new ships to be built between 2011 and 2013, representing total investment of almost €11 billion. The economic impact of the cruise industry contributes “very substantially” to employment, accounting for around 300,000 jobs in Europe, the council estimates.