The cruise industry’s contribution to the British economy grew sharply in 2013, as did the number of UK jobs it supports, according to a report released on 16th June by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

The cruise industry’s direct contribution to the UK economy, including items such as goods and services purchased by the cruise lines, and the salaries of their employees, grew by 6.5% to £2.54 billion in 2013 from £2.38 billion the year before. The cruise industry’s direct contribution to the combined economies of Europe grew by 4.7% to £13.2 billion in 2013 with the UK economy the second highest beneficiary after Italy. The overall contribution of the cruise industry, including indirect items such as spending by cruise line suppliers, to the economies of Europe jumped 22% to £32.1 billion.

The number of British jobs supported by the cruise industry also grew strongly to 70,241 – a growth of more than 4,000 jobs. More than a fifth of all the jobs the industry provides across Europe are now to be found in the UK, which is also home to more cruise line employees than any other European nation, being the country of residence of over a third of them.

The UK remains Europe’s biggest cruise market, a year in which 1.72 million British passengers took an ocean cruise – an increase of 25,000 from 2012. The number of British and overseas passengers joining their cruise at a UK port passed the one million mark for the first time in 2013, jumping 8% to 1,062,000, while the number of passengers on day visits to one of the UK’s 51 cruise ports jumped by 20% to 866,000.

Jo Rzymowska, Chair of CLIA UK & Ireland, said: “The cruise industry’s multi-billion pound investment in UK plc is paying ever-increasing dividends for the British economy. “The UK leads the field, accounting for more passengers and more jobs than any other European country and we are confident this growth in cruise travel will continue as we see new cruise ships dedicated to the UK market being introduced in 2015.”