The strong growth of the British cruise industry continued in 2011 despite the global economic slowdown, according to data released today by the European Cruise Council (ECC).

The cruise industry generated direct expenditure of £2.28billion last year in the UK, up 10.2% on 2010. The European total was £12.1billion, up 3.3%, with the UK spend second only to Italy and UK growth only behind France.

Together with indirect expenditure the total contribution of the global cruise industry to the European economy rose to a record £29.66billion.

The number of UK passengers who took a cruise in 2011 increased by 10.9% to 1.7million which represented 28% of the continent’s cruise market. European passenger numbers rose by 9% to 6.2million and the global figure for 2011 was 20.6million passengers.

David Dingle, member of the ECC executive and CEO of Carnival UK, said: “Despite these challenging times the cruise industry is making an increasingly significant contribution to the British economy and that of mainland Europe by creating jobs and acting as a catalyst for tourism.
"Next year we will see more ships deployed in UK ports which we believe is testimony to the continued confidence in the UK as the world’s second largest source market for the cruise industry.”

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