Clia expects 2023 to surpass 2019 passenger levels

Clia expects nearly every vessel to be back operating by August this year and passenger volumes to surpass 2019 levels by the end of 2023 at the latest.

The newly-released 2022 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report outlines how more than 75% of the ocean-going fleet capacity across Clia’s cruise line membership have now resumed operations – and 86 countries have reopened to cruise calls.

Clia said the “responsible return of cruise” had been underpinned by collaboration with governments, as well as “the unshakable love of cruising among those who have cruised before”.

Despite Clia’s upbeat restart prediction, it noted that the number of passenger embarkations in 2020 – 5.8 million – had dropped by 81% versus pre-pandemic 2019.

And the $63.4 billion contributed by the sector to the overall global economy in 2020 was a 59% decline compared with 2019.

But in a baseline forecast Clia predicted that annual passenger volumes would surpass 2019 levels by the end of next year.

Passenger volumes are expected to reach 12% above 2019 levels by the end of 2026.

According to Clia’s data, passengers spend on average $750 in port cities during a typical seven-day cruise. In 2019, Clia figures showed that passengers spent an average of $476 in port cities during a cruise.

Kelly Craighead, Clia’s president and chief executive, said: “The 2022 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report provides an opportunity to reflect on how far our industry has come as Clia ocean-going cruise lines have welcomed more than six million guests onboard since resuming operations in July 2020.

“While our focus on health and safety remains absolute, our industry is also leading the way in environmental sustainability and destination stewardship.”

She added: “Coastal and maritime tourism is an important economic driver, and we continue to work in partnership with cruise destinations so that communities thrive from responsible tourism.

“Our members are also investing in new technologies and new ships and pursuing the goal of net carbon neutral cruising by 2050.”

Five of the 16 new ocean vessels due to be launched this year will use cleaner maritime fuel, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and every ship will be equipped with advanced waste water treatment systems. They inclide P&O Cruises’ Arvia, due to launch this year, which will use LNG.

By 2027, 174 Clia members’ ships – 66% of the entire global fleet – will have shoreside power connectivity, meaning those vessels will not burn fuel while docked in port, reducing emissions.

In the report Robert Courts, UK’s maritime minister, said: “Building state-of-the-art green infrastructure at cruise terminals, such as shore side electricity capability, is exactly the kind of investment that we all want to see more of.”

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