ANTOR talks to CLIA about COVID-19

Last week the Association of National Tourist Offices and Representatives (ANTOR) invited Mr Andy Harmer, Director for CLIA UK & Ireland to give ANTOR members a brief update on the cruise industry and how it has been dealing with COVID-19. Here are a few of the key points we took away with us:


  • Ocean cruise accounts for 2% of global holidays worldwide. There are 55 million cruise passengers a year globally and around 2 million of them from the UK

  • There are currently 277 ocean cruise liners operating

  • The average age of UK passengers is 54 which is the oldest age profile in the world

  • Colder destinations attract older passengers whereas warm destinations are more appealing to passengers in their late 30’s

  • Families are a small proportion of the cruise market since the travelling period is limited to the school holidays

  • Millennials are the age group that is the most interested in taking a cruise holiday

  • 70% of guests choose their cruises depending on the destinations visited by the ship

  • About 70% of UK cruise passengers who visit a destination during a cruise are likely to go back to that destination for a land based holiday

  • 50% of Brits sail ex-UK on itineraries visiting Northern Europe, the Baltics and the Mediterranean

  • Cruise passengers are very loyal, therefore they are very likely to go back on board as soon as the situation improves

  • The UK cruise industry alone generates 10 billion pounds revenue and 100.000 jobs

  • The industry has experienced substantial growth and diversity over the past 10 years. This is mostly due to the much larger size of recent vessels as well as the many on-board amenities on offer

  • Globally, the Caribbean is the number 1 cruise destination followed by the Mediterranean

  • The world's largest cruise markets are the USA, China, Germany and UK

  • The river cruise sector has been one of the fastest growing sectors in travel over the last 10 years


  • Health and safety protocol has always been a priority for cruise liners

  • Cruise lines were very quick to enforce measures to combat COVID-19

  • A new set of protocols is taking shape (still in the planning stage)

  • River cruise lines have a different protocol and they are also resetting it

  • All river cruise lines as well as ocean cruise lines are voluntarily suspended at the moment

  • 15 June is anticipated as the restart date for river cruises but this is not set in stone

  • There is no restart date for cruise liners yet. This will be mostly driven by the individual cruise lines, the new set of protocols and the air space situation

  • It is not possible to establish which region of the world will resume cruising first since this will largely rely on the flight situation (i.e. flying to the embarkation port will be a key deciding factor)

  • In the UK, CLIA is working with the governmental bodies as well as the European authorities

  • CLIA is also working closely with many ports, destinations and attractions featured within itineraries

  • Shore excursions are likely to follow a different format in the future. Cruise ships may have to stay longer at port to enable all passengers to take advantage of the calls.

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