Cruise industry increases spending in Hawaii

The cruise industry stepped up its spending in 2004 in Hawaii and Colorado, according to data collected by the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL).

The two states broke into the top 10 states that benefit the most from cruising. The industry spent $407 million on direct purchases in Colorado, and $336 million on purchases in Hawaii.

Spending in both states jumped about 127% year-over-year.

The five states that benefitted the most remained unchanged year-over-year: Florida, California, New York, Alaska and Texas.

Washington, Georgia and Illinois rounded out the top 10. Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, which were ranked ninth and 10th in the study in 2003, dropped to 11th and 12th in 2004.

The top 10 states accounted for 81% of direct expenditures of the cruise industry, ICCL said.

With the deployment of U.S.-flagged cruise ships in Hawaii by NCL America, the state has been the fastest growing cruise destination market in the U.S., the ICCL said. Some 55,000 passenger visits at Hawaiian ports of call accounted for more than 13% of all port-of-call  visits at U.S. ports.

And, because the NCL Americas crew is made up of U.S. residents, the industrys direct employment in Hawaii exceeds 1,100 employees.

Tourism-related businesses such as tour operators, airlines and hotels received about $272 million, a little more than 80% of the industrys direct expenditures in Hawaii.

The ICCL said approximately $250 million was spent in Colorado last year on petroleum and chemical refineries, railroad equipment, accounting and consulting firms, social and scientific research and advertising and direct mail.

Not surprisingly, the industry made the most direct purchases, $5.16 billion, in Florida, which represents 35% of all U.S. purchases made by the cruise industry.

According to the ICCL, more than 4.7 million passengers, or nearly 60% of cruise embarkations, boarded in one of Floridas five main cruise ports.

Nearly 41% of the U.S. wage impact also was recorded in Florida because the three largest cruise companies (Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises and NCL Corp.), along with several smaller luxury and niche brands and other businesses related to cruise tourism, are headquartered in the state.

On the opposite end of the scale, the five states that recorded the least amount of purchases in 2004 were South Dakota, West Virginia, Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming.

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