Cruise tourism boosted revenues for destinations, ports and businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to an Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association-commissioned study from Business Research and Economic Advisors.
The advisers reported that Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association-regional cruise tourism in 2011-2012 generated more than $1.9 billion in direct expenditures, 45,000 jobs and $728 million in employee wages among 21 destinations surveyed.
“This certainly is wonderful news, but it doesn’t surprise me,” said Michele M. Paige, association president, during the 19th annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s Conference and Trade Show in Curaçao.
“[Our] members are known for seeing opportunities.”
The new study analysed spending by passengers, crew members and cruise lines.
Cruise passengers (15.44 million) spent US$1.48 billion in 21 participating destinations, with per passenger expenditures ranging from $185.40 in St. Maarten to $27.10 in St. Vincent & the Grenadines and averaging $95.92. An average of 52 percent of passengers bought shore excursions, generating $270 million in total payments to tour operators. Other notable purchases include watches and jewellery ($583 million); clothing ($158 million); food and beverage ($106.5 million) and local crafts and souvenirs ($87 million).
Crew members (2.7 million) spent over $261 million in the 21 destinations, with per crew expenditures ranging from $138.30 in the United States Virgin Islands and $21.40 in St. Vincent & the Grenadines and averaging $96.98.
Cruise lines spent an estimated $246.9 million in participating destinations for port fees and taxes, utilities, navigation services and ship supplies.
“These expenditures have a direct impact on local employment and wages,” said Andrew Moody, principal of Business Research & Economic Advisors. “Local businesses … create additional jobs and income.”
Ms Paige noted that polled passengers’ experience showed a strong indication that they are likely to cruise again in the region and spend money. Passengers told the survey that they were satisfied with overall destination visit; shore excursions; friendliness of residents and courtesy of employees; initial shoreside welcome; historic sites/museums; and local transportation.
“Establishing relationships among member lines and the public and private sectors of partner destinations was the reason we founded the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association,” Ms Paige said.