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(CMC) – A new study has found that the cruise tourism expenditures in Latin America and the Caribbean amounted to more than three billion US dollars during the period 2017-18.
The study unveiled at the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Conference that ends here on Friday, also indicated that nearly 79,000 jobs were created during the period.
The study found that cruise tourism and the 29.6 million passenger and crew onshore visits throughout 36 Caribbean and Latin American destinations directly generated a record US$3.36 billion in total expenditures and that more than US$900 million was paid out in wages.
The FCCA, which represents “the mutual interests of the cruise industry and destinations and stakeholders in the Caribbean and Latin America” said that the 2017-2018 cruise year brought record economic contributions to the region, despite the historic hurricane season.
According to the study titled “Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Destination Economies” and released Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA , the cruise tourism expenditure was more than six per cent higher than the record set by the previous study in 2015.
“We could not be prouder of these results and what they mean for all of our neighbours and partners throughout the Caribbean and Latin America,” said FCCA president, Michele Paige.
“Beyond showing what cruise tourism brings to these destinations’ economies, which was crucial in restoring lives and communities following last year’s historic hurricane season, many of the findings will also serve as the foundation of building further mutual success between cruise lines and destination stakeholders.”
The study measured direct spending impacts through passenger surveys and crew surveys; cruise line spending for services and provisions; port revenues; and employment generated by cruise ship calls.
The FCCA said that measurement of economic impacts was calculated by collecting data from local government agencies, regional development agencies and international economic agencies to evaluate impacts on employment, wages, port fees and taxes.
According to the key findings of the study, Latin America and Caribbean destinations welcomed 25.2 million onshore visits from cruise passengers, with an average spend of US$101.52, generating a total of $2.56 billion.
The study also found that destinations welcomed 4.4 million onshore visits from crew, with an average spend of US$60.44, generating a total of US$265.7 million and that cruise lines spent US$534 million, an average of US$14.8 million per destination.
It said that the average per passenger spend increased for 23 of the 32 common destinations, and
12 destinations recorded average spend rates above US$100 per passenger, up from nine in 2015.
FCCA said that the study’s measure of cruise tourism expenditures did not include indirect benefits of cruise tourism, including supplies purchased by tour operators, restaurants and port authorities, though the estimates of these expenditures served as the basis for total employment and wage impacts.
“The study also did not account for other indirect benefits, such as spending from cruise passengers who return as stay-over guests; nor did the study measure other methods of cruise line spending that benefit destinations, including NGO partnerships and marketing.”
It said results were skewed by last year’s historic hurricane season-with destinations like British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and the United States Virgin Islands seeing declines due to the temporary effects, while still totalling expenditures more than US$500 million during the study and now regularly welcoming more than 10,000 cruisers per day due to their remarkable recoveries. “Additionally, the temporary impacts led to increases in destinations like Guadeloupe, Martinique and Bonaire.
According to the study, all of this showed “further proof that the Caribbean cruise industry is strong, and the member destinations, in all their beauty, continue to be both resilient and successful.”