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CLIA: Cruise industry beats projections for 2017

Konstantin Sheiko
May 31, 2018

The cruise industry has surpassed expectations for 2017 according to statistics released by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) earlier this week. In 2017, the global market attracted 26.7 million people, which far surpasses the 25.8 million originally forecast for the year. 

“Once again, the cruise industry has raised the bar and exceeded projections and expectations,” said Cindy D’Aoust, CLIA's CEO. “I am proud to be a part of this dynamic industry that continues to grow and evolve bringing the cruise vacation experience to millions each year.”

Nor does cruise travel seem to be cooling off any time soon. Based on new vessel launch schedules and expected regional deployment, CLIA is projecting another year of growth for the industry with a forecast of 28 million passengers. 

North America represented the largest passenger market in 2017, making up nearly half the global audience with 13 million (49 percent) of all ocean cruise passengers. Domestically, the U.S. and Canada market saw an impressive 5 percent growth in passengers over 2016. 

Europeans made up the second-largest market with nearly seven million (26 percent) ocean cruise passengers. Europe’s numbers also increased last year, reflecting a 2.5 percent bump over 2016. 

Asia posted the largest increase, seeing a 20.5 percent growth last year as compared to 2016. Asian passengers accounted for about 15 percent of the total global ocean passenger volume in 2017. Australia/Pacific, which accounts for 5.4 percent of the entire cruise market also experienced positive growth, increasing about 5 percent over 2016. 

Rounding out the demand for cruises were passengers from South and Central America (3.2 percent) and other or miscellaneous categories (1.6 percent.) Interestingly, while demand for cruise travel is increasing, voyage times have dipped slightly. Last year, the average cruise was 7.2 days, reflecting a 2 percent dip in the average cruise length in 2016. In 2016, the average age of all cruise passengers globally was 47 years old.

Photo iStock/mikolajn