The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) predicts that tourist activity around the cruise ships recover the levels of before the pandemic as of August in the most optimistic scenario and in 2023 in the most ominous, according to the report ‘Cruise Industry Outlook 2022’ released this Friday. The report quantifies the contribution of cruise tourism and highlights the efforts made by the sector in terms of health and safety, environmental sustainability and improvement of destinations. The report presents new economic data for 2020, including relevant information related to the recovery from the pandemic, the contribution of the cruise industry and leadership and progress in the areas of responsible tourism and maritime practices.
The report finds that in terms of passengers the volume of activity recovers and exceeds the levels of 2019 at the end of 2023 in any case. In the most optimistic forecast, passenger volume is expected to recover 101% of 2019 levels a year earlier, by the end of the summer campaign or the end of the year. In any of the assumptions, and given that new ships are going to be launched, the volume of passengers in 2026 is expected to be 12% higher than the records reached before the pandemic in 2019.
Currently, the CLIA detects that employment in the sector is recovering. “Approximately 70% of cruise-related companies and organizations reported layoffs and furloughs as a result of the pandemic, but 60% of companies confess that they are already hiring,” the report explains. Given the importance of cruise tourism to economies around the world, the impact of the suspension of cruises in 2020 had far-reaching effects throughout the cruise community, including ports, destinations, service providers, tour operators, agencies of travel and hundreds of thousands of small and medium businesses. This impact translated into a loss of jobs of 51% (from 1.17 million to 575,000) and passengers of 81% (from 29.7 million to 5.8 million). The economic weight of the sector went from 154,000 million dollars to 63,400 million. The response of the companies in the sector has also been to take advantage of these months to increase investments. It is estimated that 16 new ocean-going ships will debut throughout 2022, of which five will be powered by LNG and nine will be expedition ships; 100% will be equipped with advanced wastewater treatment systems.
By 2027, the ocean fleet of CLIA partners will consist of 26 ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and 81% of global capacity will feature advanced wastewater treatment systems (AWTS). A total of 174 cruise ships will be prepared to connect to the electricity grid.
An example of this advance of new cruisers was presented this week. On Thursday, Royal Caribbean International took delivery of the new ‘Wonder of the Seas,’ which will make its official debut in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on March 4, to begin sailing 7-night Caribbean cruises before heading to Barcelona, Spain, and Rome to offer summer services in the Mediterranean. Specifically, starting in May it will sail from Barcelona and Rome to Naples, Florence, Palma de Mallorca and Provence.