The Italian Almanac

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cruise liner

A Growing Sector

The cruise industry is a growth sector that is helping pull Italy and the rest of the continent out of the economic downturn, according to the European Cruise Council (ECC). Despite the recent recession, European cruise passenger numbers have doubled in the past seven years and the effects of this have benefitted the economy as a whole. European cruise operators have invested 10.8 billion euros in the construction of 23 new ships from now until the end of 2014, the ECC said. The sector is also making massive efforts to promote European destinations and create jobs in satellite industries, on islands and in coastal regions.

In 2010 the industry delivered double-digit growth for the fourth year in a row with another record-breaking season. Cruising was the holiday of choice for 5.5 million Europeans, up 10% on the previous year. Another 1.2 million people from other continents chose to discover Europe on board a cruise ship. This generated turnover of 35.2 billion euros for goods and services, and jobs for 300,000 people in dozens of ports, from Civitavecchia to Copenhagen, Helsinki, Valletta, Bilbao and Southampton. ''To once again deliver double-digit growth is a tribute to the hard work of all our member cruise lines and everyone working in the European cruise industry,'' said ECC Secretary General Tim Marking. ''Over five million Europeans chose to cruise last year because they recognize that the European cruise industry provides quality, innovation, value and a great range of choice''.

Reservations for cruises in Europe in 2010 rose 9.3% compared to 2009 and accounted for a 30% share of the global market. This generated significant economic benefits for Europe as a whole, although 61% of the investments were concentrated in three countries, Italy, Britain and Germany. Italy consolidated its lead positions in shipbuilding and as the top destination, according to the ECC report. The figures were positive for the Mediterranean as a whole, with 162 ships taking almost 3.5 million people on cruises around the sea in 2010.