ICCL: Cruising accounts for $6.4B in direct spending

Cruise lines, airlines, travel agents, ports, hotels and restaurants received $6.4 billion in direct spending from the cruise lines and their passengers and crew last year, according to research from the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL).

Spending on these businesses, which ICCL termed the core cruise travel sector, was relatively flat year-over-year -- the industry spent $6.4 billion in the core cruise travel sector in 2002. But the amount of money spent by passengers and crew increased by 12%, to $1.1 billion, during 2003, compared with $844 million in 2002.

That $1.1 billion, ICCL said, was spent on a variety of retail, dining, local transit and lodging services.

There were more cruise ship passengers embarking at U.S. ports in 2003. According to ICCL, 7.1 million passengers embarked on cruises at U.S. ports and made 3.8 million ports-of-call in the U.S., a 9% and 8% jump year-over-year, respectively.

The biggest jump was in spending of port-of-call passengers, who on average spent $111.73 during port days in 2003, compared with $82.15 per visit in 2002.

The cruise industry and passengers, meanwhile, spent $1.6 billion on services by travel agents and tour operations. Most of that money, ICCL said, includes agency commissions. ICCL said its survey indicated the industry-average commission was 15% last year, one percentage point up from 2002.

The study, which ICCL commissions annually, was conducted by the Business Research and Economic Advisors.

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