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Desire for Experiences Fuelling UK Cruise Boom
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Desire for Experiences Fuelling UK Cruise Boom

Desire for Experiences Fuelling UK Cruise Boom
Britannia TA Listings Page Image

October 10, 2019

Adam Coulter
UK Managing Editor
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(12:30 p.m. BST) -- Families, multi-generational cruisers, rivers and expedition are all fuelling the growth in UK cruising, according to research.

The desire for more "experiential" holidays -- fuelled by, but not confined to, millennials -- is also boosting the cruise sector, Alastair Pritchard, Travel, Hospitality and Leisure Partner at Deloitte, revealed at the Abta Cruise Conference earlier this week.

And despite uncertainty over Brexit and the weak pound, the UK cruise sector has remained buoyant -- topping 2m in 2018 and set to achieve the same figure in 2019.

Pritchard told delegates: "The experiential trend is driven by millennials, but is not confined to millennials. We are seeing more and more people seek out experiences -- they don't want to buy cars, they want to spend their leisure time on experiential activities."

However, despite the growth, cruises still only account for around two percent of all holidays sold worldwide.

Princess Cruises Vice President UK & Europe Tony Roberts said: "There were 2m cruisers in the UK and Ireland in 2018 and we are continuing to see growth -- and growth in river cruising has been really strong as well.

"So it feels really positive, but as a proportion of the overall holiday market cruising is still small and compared to some markets penetration in the UK is still quite low.

Roberts cited Mintel research which showed that of every £10 spent on a holiday, £1 of that was on a cruise. Research also revealed there are 88 cruise ships currently on the order books -- 28 of which are Expedition vessels -- tapping into this desire for more "experiential" cruising.

In addition, cruise lines are trying to visit less well-known destinations in a bid to avoid the overtourism afflicting a number of European cities.

Next year, 20 new ships will be launching adding 40,000 new berths -- still tiny compared to the number of hotels being built.

Roberts added: "The real opportunity is just that penetration into the holiday market, because If you think that cruising globally is about 30m passengers in 2020.

"And if you look at a city like Orlando whose visitor numbers are 45m and Las Vegas is 60m so a single city can attract the equivalent of the total cruise market you think how much potential there is for growth."

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