Regional cruise tourism in 2011-2012 generated more than US$1.9 billion in direct expenditures, 45,000 jobs and $728 million in employee wages among 21 destinations.
This is according to a study commissioned by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and conducted by the Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA) to analyze spending by passengers, crew members and cruise lines in the 21 destinations surveyed.
BREA-surveyed destinations included Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; The Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Curacao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Honduras; Nicaragua; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St Kitts and Nevis; St Maarten; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Turks and Caicos; and the US Virgin Islands.
Among BREA’s findings were that 15.44 million cruise passengers spent US$1.48 billion in the participating destinations, with per passenger expenditures ranging from US$185.40 in St Maarten to $27.10 in St Vincent and the Grenadines and averaging $95.92.
An average of 52 percent of passengers bought shore excursions, generating US$270 million in total payments to tour operators. Other notable purchases include watches and jewelry ($583 million); clothing ($158 million); food and beverage ($106.5 million) and local crafts and souvenirs ($87 million).
And, according to the study, holidaymakers were not the only travellers generating revenue for the destinations. Crew members (2.7 million) spent over US$261 million in the 21 destinations, with per crew expenditures ranging from US$138.30 in the US Virgin Islands and $21.40 in St Vincent and the Grenadines and averaging $96.98.
The study also showed that cruise lines spent an estimated US$246.9 million in participating destinations for port fees and taxes, utilities, navigation services and ship supplies.
“These expenditures have a direct impact on local employment and wages,” Andrew Moody, principal of Business Research and Economic Advisors, said. “Local businesses … create additional jobs and income.”
“This certainly is wonderful news, but it doesn’t surprise me,” said Michele Paige, FCCA president, during the 19th annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s Conference and Trade Show in Curacao.