BREA reported that FCCA-regional cruise tourism in 2011-2012 generated more than $1.9 billion in direct expenditures, 45,000 jobs and $728 million in employee wages among 21 destinations surveyed.
"This certainly is wonderful news, but it doesn't surprise me," told Michele M. Paige, FCCA president, during the 19th annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association's Conference and Trade Show in Curaçao. "FCCA members are known for seeing opportunities."
The new study analyzed spending by passengers, crew members and cruise lines. Among BREA's findings:
Cruise passengers (15.44 million) spent $1.48 billion in 21 participating destinations, with per passenger expenditures ranging from $185.40 in St. Maarten to $27.10 in St. Vincent & the Grenadines and averaging $95.92. An average of 52 percent of passengers bought shore excursions, generating $270 million in total payments to tour operators. Other notable purchases include watches and jewelry ($583 million); clothing ($158 million); food and beverage ($106.5 million) and local crafts and souvenirs ($87 million).
Crew members (2.7 million) spent over $261 million in the 21 destinations, with per crew expenditures ranging from $138.30 in the U.S. Virgin Islands and $21.40 in St. Vincent & the Grenadines and averaging $96.98.
Cruise lines spent an estimated $246.9 million in participating destinations for port fees and taxes, utilities, navigation services and ship supplies.
"These expenditures have a direct impact on local employment and wages," Andrew Moody, principal of Business Research & Economic Advisors, said. "Local businesses ... create additional jobs and income."
BREA-surveyed destinations included Antigua & Barbuda; Aruba; The Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Curacao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Honduras; Nicaragua; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Maarten; St. Vincent & the Grenadines; Turks & Caicos; and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Paige noted that polled passengers' experience showed a strong indication that they are likely to cruise again in the region and spend money. Passengers told BREA that they were "very satisfied" with:
Overall destination visit.
Friendliness of residents and courtesy of employees.
Initial shoreside welcome.
"Establishing relationships among member lines and the public and private sectors of partner destinations was the reason we founded the FCCA," Paige said. "Never has it been more important for cruise and travel partners to link arms and share ideas. That's the spirit behind the conference we're attending here in Curaçao."
The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) is a not-for-profit trade organization composed of 14 Member Cruise Lines operating more than 100 vessels in Floridian, Caribbean and Latin American waters. Created in 1972, the FCCA's mandate is to provide a forum for discussion on tourism development, ports, tour operations, safety, security and other cruise industry issues. By fostering an understanding of the cruise industry and its operating practices, the FCCA seeks to build cooperative relationships with its partner destinations and to develop productive bilateral partnerships with every sector. The FCCA works with governments, ports and all private/public sector representatives to maximize cruise passenger, cruise line and cruise line employee spending, as well as enhancing the destination experience and the amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors.