INTERNATIONAL. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has revealed in its annual State of the Cruise Industry Report that 32 million passengers are expected to go on a cruise in 2020.

According to the report, cruising sustained 1,177,000 jobs, equalling US$50.24 billion in wages and salaries and US$150 billion total output worldwide in 2018. The CLIA added that passengers spend US$376 on average in port cities before boarding a cruise and US$101 in each visiting port destination during a cruise.

Annual cruise passenger numbers are expected to pass 30 million for the first time in 2019 and go beyond that in 2020

CLIA President & CEO Kelly Craighead commented: “The industry’s economic impact is a big part of the story, especially as it relates to our passengers’ contributions to local economies and the diverse workforce onboard our ships. We recognise that with growth comes increased responsibility to raise the bar in all aspects of what we do to ensure cruising remains a force for good and the best way to experience the world.”

The CLIA has commissioned a study to explore the positive economic impact of the cruise trade

In its seven predicted industry trends for 2020, the association has focussed on environmental sustainability and destination stewardship.

The projected deployment of cruise lines in 2020

For environmental sustainability, the report highlights the cruise industry’s US$22 billion investment in the development of energy-efficient technologies. The CLIA added that the development and identification of new technologies and cleaner fuels is a top priority for the cruise industry.

A further trend in 2020 will be a reduction in single-use plastics, with the report identifying that 80% of cruise passengers already cut down on single-use plastic while travelling.

To embrace destination stewardship, the CLIA said its members were exploring partnerships with local governments and staggered arrivals/departures, among other measures.

Craighead added: “While demand for cruising has reached new heights, the cruise industry is accelerating our efforts to be a leader in responsible tourism. Our members are at the forefront of best practices designed to protect the sanctity of the destinations we visit and enhance the experiences of travellers and residents alike.”

The maiden vessel from Virgin Voyages, Scarlet Lady, will debut in 2020

The other predicted trends for 2020 included the rise of cruise and stay, based on findings that 65% of cruise passengers spend extra time at their port of embarkation or disembarkation, as well as an increase in both lone cruisers and shorter micro cruises.

The report added that both Generation X and millennials have a more positive attitude to cruising than two years ago, as the CLIA talked up the generation cruise positive trend.