Cruise industry contributed $3.2 billion to the Canadian economy in 2016

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Economic impact expected to continue growing as passenger visits rise again in 2017

Cruise ships, together with their passengers and crew, make a significant annual contribution to the Canadian economy – and cruise industry spending is increasing at a healthy rate in all three of Canada’s major coastal cruise regions – BC, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Those are among the findings of a new study detailing the economic impact of the cruise industry in Canada – including everything from spending by cruise lines home-porting and making port calls; to on-shore spending by passengers and crew members; to commissions paid to travel agents across the country.

The study, entitled The Economic Contribution of the International Cruise Industry in Canada 2016, was prepared by Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) for the Cruise Lines International Association-North West & Canada (CLIA-NWC), the St. Lawrence Cruise Association, the Atlantic Canada Cruise Association and Cruise BC. The study is based on data from 2016 with comparisons to 2012, the last time a comparable study was commissioned.

Total economic impact of $3.2 billion – including direct and indirect spending – increased 34 per cent since 2012, attributed to gains in cruise line, passenger and crew spending, along with increases in business taxes such as those on food, fuel and retail items, and a favourable Canadian exchange rate. The nine per cent increase in passenger visits between 2012 and 2016 is about to be eclipsed by a 14 per cent single-year growth forecast for 2017, ensuring further gains in cruise industry spending in the coming year.

Other study highlights include:

  • Direct spending by cruise lines in Canada totaled $933 million, including items such as goods and services necessary for cruise operations (food & beverages, fuel, vessel maintenance/repair, equipment & supplies), shore-side staffing, port fees & services, equipment, and advertising & promotion.
  • Direct spending by cruise passengers – including lodging, tours & transportation, food & beverage, and retail – totalled just over half a billion dollars in 2016, a 12 per cent increase since 2012.
  • Passenger visits to all Canadian ports totaled 2.23 million in 2016, an increase of nine per cent over the 2.05 million visit recorded in 2012.
  • The number of jobs generated by the industry in Canada – direct and indirect – is estimated at just over 23,000, paying just over $1 billion in salaries and wages. Total employment generated by the cruise industry has increased 31 per cent since 2012.
  • Of the national total, BC accounts for 66 per cent of direct cruise industry spending; Quebec accounts for 15 per cent; Atlantic Canada accounts for 7 per cent. Other provinces and territories also benefit, as recipients of spending on ship provisions, equipment, tourism, advertising and agent commissions.

Canada's cruise industry

Quotes:

Greg Wirtz, President & CEO, CLIA North West & Canada:

“The study confirms that the international cruise industry is a major contributor to the Canadian economy, with ships generating millions of passenger visits and billions in spending every year. As cruising expands globally and passengers show more and more interest in Canada as a destination, Canada’s ports and tourism operators will need to keep pace to ensure Canada can realize the growth opportunity this industry presents.”

Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons:

“This study illustrates just how important the cruise industry is in creating jobs and growth in Canada’s tourism sector. This information reinforces our government’s commitment to investment in marketing Canada’s tourism products around the world. Tourism is an economic driver for every Canadian community, supporting close to 1.7 million jobs and 200,000 businesses from coast-to-coast-to-coast. As we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, I am excited that guests from around the world will share our incredible experiences and destinations.”

Charlotte Bell, President & CEO, TIAC (Tourism Industry Association of Canada):

“With this study, we see that Canada is becoming increasingly attractive to cruise ship visitors. We strive to ensure they continue having high quality experiences during their Pacific, Atlantic and St. Lawrence port visits and return for a longer stay, once they’ve had a taste of what Canada has to offer.”

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