The UK river cruise market grew by a robust 21% to 210,400 passengers in 2017 on the previous year, while the number of bed nights increased slightly more, by 24%, CLIA UK & Ireland said in a statement.
European river cruises, which account for almost 90% of bookings. Cruises on the Douro, Russian waterways, Rhine and Danube were the most popular choices.
“However, it was eastern and southern Europen which saw the most growth last year, predominantly on Russian waterways and on the Douro. Looking outside Europe, three rivers accounted for the bulk of passengers in 2017 last year; the Mekong, Nile and Irrawaddy. Other non-European rivers experiencing rising passenger numbers in 2017 were the Ganges and Brahmaputra,” said Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Irelannd Director.
The rapid growth rate of the river cruise business outpaced the low single digit expansion of the ocean cruise market, which reached 1.95 million passengers last year.