25 Apr 2017
Figures released last month by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) revealed that a record 1.9 million cruise holidaymakers from the UK and Ireland took an ocean cruise in 2016. It puts the UK and Ireland as the third largest ocean cruising market in the world after USA and Germany. Germany overtook the UK and Ireland as the second largest market in in 2014 and the gap widened in 2016 to nearly 130,000 passengers.
Given that the global cruise fleet is set to increase by at least a third over the next ten years with a $50 billion commitment for at least 70 more ships the UK and Ireland markets will continue to benefit from the investment being made. There will be capacity additions for the UK and Ireland market from 2017 and this will include the 2020 introduction of the largest ship ever built for the UK, a 5,200-passenger 180,000 tonnes P&O cruise vessel. Overall, CLIA forecasts that the total world demand for cruising will rise by nearly 5% in 2017 from 24.2 million passengers to 25.3 million passengers. This growth is supported in the short term by additional capacity with 13, 15 and 20 scheduled ocean cruise lines due for launch in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively as at the beginning of this year.
Germany and the UK and Ireland outperformed the rest of the European markets in terms of growth in 2016. There are some strong market trends in the UK such as ex-UK cruising which could reinforce the growth in the UK market but there are several new German ships being launched in the next few years. It is likely that Germany will retain its leading position in Europe in the short term.
The number of UK passengers starting their cruise in the UK accounted for a rising 48% of the market in 2016 and reflects 9% growth in the ex-UK segment to 912,000 passengers. This is attributed to the convenience of travelling to the port, the wide range of state of the art ships now sailing from the UK, and the incredible value for money that an ‘ex-UK’ sailing offers for holidaymakers. The trends suggest that ex-UK cruising may overtake fly cruising in a few years but will the UK market overtake the German market at the same time.
Data Source – IRN Research