Seatrade Insider – For source markets around the world, the trend is grow, grow, grow

Global source market trends came under the spotlight at the World Cruise Tourism Summit on the opening day of Cruise Shipping Miami.

Although final figures for Europe are still being prepared, the European Cruise Council’s secretary general Tim Marking reported ‘another year of steady and significant growth in 2011 resulting in a 9% increase to just over 6m passengers last year.’

The UK continues to lead with 1.7m passengers, a 5% increase year on year, followed by Germany with almost 1.4m. These two countries represent more than 50% of the market share accounting for 28% and 23% respectively. Italy and Spain in third and fourth spots both grew despite their economic woes, Marking added.

Remarking on the UK market, PSA director Bill Gibbons said the Mediterranean continues to be the most popular destination of chioce for Britons, accounting for 45% of the market, with the Atlantic islands and Norway also gaining more business. However, the Caribbean’s share fell by 14% with the Air Passenger Duty tax having a significant negative effect on the UK fly-cruise market, Gibbons said.

Talking about Germany’s continuing double digit growth and 2% market penetration, Helge Grammerstorf, md SeaConsult, predicted 2m German ocean cruisers by 2017. He said Germans are looking for home-based departures and shorter cruises.

In South America, ABREMAR chairman Ricardo Amaral spoke of the rising middle class in Brazil spurring the domestic cruise market with 860,000 Brazilians expected to cruise this current season. With both Costa and MSC taking their newest ships to South America next year, ‘prospects for 2012/13 look good.’

Sarina Bratton, founder and md of Orion Expedition Cruises, said Australia is no different to Europe or South America; having more ships in the local market continues to stimulate demand and whilst 2011 figures will not be announced until April, she estimated the final figure will likely be 600,000, up from 447,000 in 2010. Is the 1 million passenger mark possible by 2020? ‘Absolutely,’ in Bratton’s view.

Another bullish view came from Melvin Vu, ceo of SATS-Creuers Cruise Services Pte, in his summary of Asia’s source market. He gave two reasons: the growing size of the middle class amongst Asia’s 3.8bn population and the immense investment in cruise terminal infrastructure to handle the larger ships. Vu put the Asia market at 2.5m passengers today and suggested by 2020 it has the potential to grow, from a low end projection of just over 3m to a high end projection of 5m.

Having listened to the various source market reports, analyst Tony Peisley, currently compiling his latest worldwide analysis report (‘Cruising through the Perfect Storm’), told Seatrade Insider he estimates the gloabl source market for 2011 will be 20m, up from 19.2m in 2010.

Source: Published by kind permission of Seatrade Communications Ltd. This article first appeared in Seatrade Insider in March 2012 

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