Italy is the preferred destination for people taking a cruise holiday according to a new report on the cruise industry.
With popular ports such as Naples, Civitavecchia and Livorno, 3.4 million people on a cruise holiday visited Italy in 2006 says the report on the European cruise market commissioned by the European Cruise Council, Euroyards, MedCruise and Cruise Europe.
Second most popular destination for cruise liners was Spain, including the Canary Islands, which welcomed 2.8 million cruise passengers in 2006.
Greece and the Greek Islands including Corfu, Rhodes and Mykonos, was third most popular attracting 2.5 million people on cruise holidays. Some way behind came France with 1.39 million and Norway with its popular Norwegian Fjord cruise holidays attracting 1.13 million.
Between 1995 and 2005 the number of people taking cruise holidays worldwide leapt from 5.7 million to 14.4 million. The report predicts that the number of people from European countries taking a cruise holiday could reach 4.1 million in 2010 and 5.1 million by 2015.
David Dingle, chairman of the European Cruise Council and CEO of cruise line Carnival UK, comments: “Every million euros spent by the cruise industry creates 2.2 million euros in business output and 21 jobs, paying an average wage of €33,500. There is no doubt that the revival of European shipping has helped to establish Europe as the new centre of gravity for the cruise industry”.
The report illustrates how the cruise industry in Europe is booming. By the end of 2006 shipyards in Europe were building 36 new cruise ships. And there were no less than 44 cruise lines in Europe with a combined fleet of 118 ships. In addition another 47 cruise ships were being operated in Europe by non European cruise lines.