Around 3.1 million Asians took cruises in 2016, 55 percent more than in 2015. Of these, 68 percent or 2.1 million were from mainland China, a market which almost doubled as it grew by 99 percent last year and at a four-year compound annual growth rate of 76 percent, confirming China as the world’s fastest growing major source of passengers.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) releases these and other findings in two new reports: 2017 Asia Cruise Trends and the 2016 North Asia Economic Impact Study, reveals the economic impact the cruise industry has had to the North Asian market.
In 2017, 66 cruise ships are being deployed in Asian waters. Five of these are mega ships (more than 3,500 passenger capacity), 13 are large (2,000 to 3,500 passengers), 26 of the deployed ships will be mid-size, and 17 seasonal small upscale ships will be active in the Asian region. In addition, the Expedition niche will have five ships deployed in limited seasons. In 2013, there were only 43 ships cruising in Asia, marking a 53 percent growth since 2013.
The Asian cruise industry has 10,196 operating days in Asia scheduled for 2017, an increase of 137 percent from 4,307 operating days in 2013, and an increase of 25 percent over the 8,171 operating days in 2016. The increased operating days in 2017 provide a total capacity for 4.24 million passengers. This passenger capacity has nearly tripled from 1.51 million passengers in 2013.
Asian travelers predominantly take cruises within the region. Out of the 2,086 sailings scheduled for Asian waters in 2017 - 1,992 cruises (or 95.4 percent) will remain within Asia, with exclusive Asia-to-Asia itineraries, while an additional 94 voyages are scheduled to pass through the Asia region in 2017. Total sailings in and through Asia have seen strong growth over the past four years, increasing 142 percent, from 861 cruises and voyages in 2013 to 2,086 in 2017.
The direct economic contribution of cruise tourism across all of North Asia consisted of the $3.23 billion in direct expenditures, $1.51 billion in value added goods and services and 23,697 full- and part-time jobs paying $754.5 million in employee compensation.
Wholesale and retail trade ($962.3 million), government and other services ($693.9 million) and financial and business services ($679.5 million) were the primary direct beneficiaries of cruise tourism spending. Combining the direct, indirect and induced contributions, the total economic contribution of cruise tourism in the three North Asia economies amounted to $7.21 billion in output, $3.23 billion in value-added goods and services and 51,631 full- and part-time jobs paying $1.5 billion in employee compensation. CLIA member cruise lines reported that they employed a total of 19,304 residents of North Asia as shoreside staff or crew. China, alone, accounts for 98 percent of this with 18,974 employees.