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What:Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) recently announced that the cruise industry has surpassed 2016 ocean cruise passenger expectations, reaching 24.7 million passengers globally — up from a projection of 24.2 million. For 2017, based on new vessel launch schedules and expected regional deployments, CLIA is anticipating another positive year of growth for the industry, with a passenger forecast of 25.8 million.
Why It Matters:Cruising is still one of the top markets for travel agents, so the upward trend of the industry and the growing popularity of this type of travel is good news for agents. Also, according to CLIA, the industry saw particularly strong growth in Asia; agents need to be aware of the importance of the destination as a major cruise hub.
Fast Facts:- According to CLIA, the top cruise destinations in 2016 were: Caribbean (35 percent); Mediterranean (18.3 percent); Europe without the Mediterranean (11.1 percent); Asia (9.2 percent); Australia/New Zealand/Pacific (6.1 percent); Alaska (4.2 percent); and South America (2.5 percent).
- Much of the industry’s growth can be attributed to the continuing development of the Asian market, with ocean capacity rising to 9.2 percent in 2016, a 38 percent increase from 2015.
- Globally, the 2016 cruise fleet was comprised of 458 ships and it 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.
What They Are Saying:“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 of 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.”