Lots of jobs but low wages in cruise sector, study shows

Report says more than 4,000 jobs in Cayman depend on cruise sector

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The cruise industry generates employment for more than 4,000 people in the Cayman Islands, according to a research report compiled for the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association.

Consultants, Business Research and Economic Advisors, analysed data from countries across the region, including Cayman.

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Its findings show that while cruise tourism does generate a high volume of jobs across the Caribbean and Mexico, they are not necessarily high paying jobs.

The average salary in Cayman for cruise-related employment is just under US$20,000. The survey indicates this is one of the highest in the region, but well below the average annual wage for the territory, though the report did not specify if part-time jobs were included in that calculation.

According to the BREA report, “the $224.5 million in total cruise tourism expenditures in the Cayman Islands generated direct employment of 2,507 residents of Cayman Islands paying $49.9 million in annual wages.

“Adding the indirect contribution that results from the spending of those local businesses that are the direct recipients of passenger, crew and cruise line expenditures, the direct cruise tourism expenditures generated a total employment contribution of 4,622 jobs and $92.2 million in wage income in Cayman Islands during the 2017/2018 cruise year.”

The employment and wage impacts of cruise tourism are concentrated in the commercial and transport sectors, according to the report.

Read the BREA report online.

“Because of the relatively higher wages in the transport sector compared to the other sectors of the economy, the transport sector accounts for 30 percent of the wage impacts but only 19 percent of the employment impacts,” the report notes.

The report suggests cruise ship tourism generates nearly 80,000 jobs across 36 destinations in the region. But not all cruise sector jobs are created equal. Annual wages vary drastically, from a high of US$22,649.03 a year in the US Virgin Islands to a low of US$2,972.14 in Nicaragua.

Kayla Young contributed to this story.