The European cruise industry continues to increase its share of the global cruise market despite facing an unprecedented period of difficulty for the world economy.

Figures released by the European Cruise Council (ECC) show that passengers made 23.8million visits to European ports in last year - an increase of more than 9% over 2008, with 4.9million European residents booking a cruise holiday last year, a rise of 50% in five years, and representing nearly 30% of the world’s cruise passengers.

 

The European cruise industry now generates more than €34billion of goods and services with the figures showing the growing importance to Europe of cruising in terms of wealth, tourism and providing nearly 300,000 jobs.

More than 4.8million passengers joined their cruise in Europe and spent €1.3billion on services including airfares, accommodation, tours, food and port fees, an increase of 7.6% on 2008.

Passengers also spent €1.45billion while visiting ports during their cruise holiday, 1.7% up on 2008.

Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, chairman of the ECC and deputy chairman of Silversea Cruises, said: “Last year was an unprecedented year with all holiday sectors being affected by the economic downturn. Therefore it’s particularly rewarding that these latest figures show the resilience of the European cruise industry which is outperforming other holiday sectors."

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