Last updated: 04:00 PM ET, Tue October 20 2015

Going Beyond the Numbers on CLIA's New Study

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) | Jason Leppert | October 20, 2015

Going Beyond the Numbers on CLIA's New Study

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The cruise industry is growing steadily according to a new study released by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). It’s news we’ve heard before, but it continues to bode well for a relatively fledgling travel segment, particularly in new source markets like China.

The numbers primarily indicate increased spending by the industry on a global scale in 2014, a total economic impact of $119.9 billion to be precise. Of that amount, $46.09 billion was contributed to the Unites States economy, a 4.5 percent increase from the previous year. The bottom line: if the industry is spending more, more people are cruising.

But only a tiny percentage of the world’s population has actually taken a cruise. The 22.04 million passengers who took a cruise in 2014 is a minuscule 0.3 percent of humanity. Even in the largest market, the United States, 11 million passengers account for only 3.4 percent of the population, indicating that there remains a massive untapped market.

Internationally, Germany and the United Kingdom come in second and third place in passenger counts respectively. Also moving the dial, albeit in 7th place, are the 700,000 passengers from China, easily the most significant source market in recent months, and the cruise lines know it. More and more of them are basing their ships in the Asian country to accommodate.

So why is a comparatively small source market garnering so much attention? One word: acceleration. Asia has boomed swiftly with an impressive 34 percent growth rate between 2012 and 2014.

Of course, there is still substantial room for growth, and recent marketing campaigns like “Come Seek” from Royal Caribbean International seek to target those entirely new to cruising. The focus these days is less on baby boomers and more on millennials as the industry portrays a hipper, livelier image. While the statistics above are relatively healthy, the potential for far greater numbers across a broader demographic is staggering.


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