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With 31.7 million passengers in 2023, cruising is on the rise

The cruise sector is on the rise with 31.

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With 31.7 million passengers in 2023, cruising is on the rise

The cruise sector is on the rise with 31.7 million passengers in 2023, exceeding the pre-Covid level by 7%, and it plans to continue its progression with 35.7 million travelers expected in 2024, according to cruise lines. “We have put the Covid effect behind us,” Marie-Caroline Laurent, general director for Europe of the international cruise line association (CLIA), declared during a press briefing. By 2027, cruises are expected to welcome 40 million passengers, according to the association. North American customers are up 17.5% with 18 million passengers, followed by Europeans at 8.2 million (6.5%). Asian customers fell by 37.7% to 2.3 million passengers.

Marie-Caroline Laurent attributes the success of cruises to “more varied products” than before, with the development of luxury and adventure cruises, but also to a range of ships of different sizes and a “price offer that remains reasonable for a family vacation. The average age of passengers is 47 years old and 27% of them took their first cruise in 2023. The “family” audience is growing and 28% of passengers left with representatives of at least three generations.

The growth in the number of passengers is accompanied by an increase in the number of ships: 63 ships have been ordered over the next five years. They will join the 350 already existing. Some 34% of ships have “less than 1000 beds”, underlines Ms. Laurent. Large ships with more than 4,000 beds represent 12% of the fleet today (15% expected in 2028). Nearly half of the fleet (46%) is equipped for shoreside electrical connection, and this will be 72% by 2028. In France, Toulon and Le Havre will allow cruise lines to benefit from this this year. type of installations, and Marseille at the end of 2025.

Faced with this renewed attraction for cruises, the question of mass tourism often arises in the destinations where boats receive boats: “We discuss with the ports but also the local authorities and ask them what their tourism plan is,” assures Marie-Caroline Laurent, referring to travel quotas already in place in Dubrovnik (Croatia), Bergen (Norway) and Santorini, in the Cyclades in Greece. Discussions are underway in Barcelona (Spain) and Lisbon (Portugal). Over the next five years, the construction of new ships represents 47 billion euros of investment in Europe, including 8.7 billion in France.

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