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Cruise industry's contribution to U.S. employment, economy grows in 2010

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The North American cruise industry generated 329,943 jobs that contributed a $15.2 billion wage impact on the U.S. economy in 2010, a 5.1 percent increase in employment and a 7.0 percent rise in wages over 2009, according to the latest independent study commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The total cruise industry economic impact in the U.S. in 2010 was $37.85 billion of gross output, a 7.8 percent increase over last year.

This positive economic contribution spread across every state economy via $18 billion in direct cruise industry spending, with ten states accounting for 78 percent of total employment and income impacts.

"These job numbers are good news given the challenging economy. We are pleased with the strong gains in the cruise industry's economic contributions, and that CLIA member lines were directly or indirectly responsible for putting nearly 330,000 Americans to work," said Howard Frank, CLIA's chairman.

Christine Duffy, CLIA's president, said: "As a global industry, cruise lines have managed to navigate through some tough economic times that have made vacationing decisions for millions of people more difficult. Our members have also worked through adversity created by geopolitical events and natural disasters. It is great to see the progress that was made in 2010 and this economic study demonstrates that the travel industry, and cruising in particular, matter to our economy. The cruise industry provides products that consumers value highly; the purchase of those products provides significant direct and indirect economic impact that benefits the economic well-being of Americans everywhere."

According to "The Contribution of the North American Cruise Industry to the U.S. Economy in 2010," prepared by BREA (Business Research & Economic Advisors) for CLIA, total industry direct expenditures with U.S.-based businesses increased by 5.0 percent to $18 billion. As a result of direct spending, the cruise industry generated the direct employment of 140,359 workers who earned $5.84 billion with U.S. businesses. In aggregate the direct employment and wage impacts increased by 4.4 percent and 6.5 percent respectively, over 2009.

The expenditures by the cruise lines and their passengers and crew generated employment, income and other economic benefits throughout the U.S. economy. These economic benefits arise from five principal sources: spending by cruise passengers and crew for goods and services associated with their cruise; shoreside staffing by the cruise lines for their headquarters, marketing and tour operations; expenditures by the cruise lines for goods and services necessary for cruise operations; spending by the cruise lines for port services at U.S. ports-of embarkation and ports-of-call; and expenditures by cruise lines for the maintenance and repair of vessels at U.S. shipyards, as well as capital expenditures for port terminals, office facilities and other capital equipment.

State by state, the cruise industry's economic impact varied according to the scope of cruise line operations, with the major benefactors being those states with ports of embarkation. In Florida, which accounts for 60 percent of all U.S. embarkations, the industry generated $6.3 billion in direct spending which helped create 123,255 jobs paying $5.4 billion in income. California, with 10 percent of the cruise industry's direct expenditures, was the beneficiary of $1.8 billion in spending and 41,697 jobs. New York, with a 32 percent increase in passengers and crew visits in 2010, accounted for 6.7 percent of direct expenditures, with the industry generating $1.2 billion in spending and creating 14,833 jobs. Texas, with a 31 percent increase for last year, generated $1.1 billion in spending and 16,457 jobs. In order, the remaining top ten states for economic impact were: Alaska, Washington, Georgia, Massachusetts, Illinois and Colorado.

Florida's pre-eminent position is largely due to its five cruise ports: Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, Tampa, and Jacksonville. Florida led a list of 15 ports of embarkation that account for 90.7 percent of total U.S embarkations. In order, the top ten ports are: Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, New York, Seattle, Galveston, Long Beach, Tampa, Los Angeles, New Orleans. There were 9,694,000 U.S. embarkations during 2010.

The economic impact report also noted that CLIA member lines carried 14.8 million passengers in 2010, an increase of 10.3 percent, the largest year-over-year jump since 2003. Similar to the rest of the travel industry, while occupancy and demand are up year over year, rates are still below where they were before the recession. Resident U.S. cruise passengers reached the 10 million mark for the first time, with a record number of embarkations at US. ports. With the addition of nine new ships, CLIA lines increased fleetwide lower berth capacity to 307,707 on 176 ocean-going ships, an 8.1 percent rise. Despite the capacity increase, CLIA member line ships operated at 103.1 percent occupancy in 2010.

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