AAPA Seaports Advisory

Cruise: Economic Impacts

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U.S. Cruise Industry Saw Continued Growth, Economic Contributions in 2016

New data released by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) show that the U.S. cruise industry continued to expand in 2016, generating employment, income and other benefits throughout the U.S. economy.  The reporting covers passengers sourced in the United States embarking at ports worldwide as well as passengers of all nationalities embarking at U.S. ports.

The independent report commissioned by CLIA, The Contribution of the International Cruise Industry to the U.S Economy in 2016, found that:

  • Total contributions of the cruise industry to the U.S. economy in 2016 reached a record $47.76 billion, up from $40.42 billion in 2011.
  • The cruise industry supported 389,432 jobs paying $20.58 billion in wages and salaries.
  • Passengers sourced from the U.S. including Puerto Rico, reached a record 11.50 million in 2016, up 1.4 percent from 2014 and 10 percent more than in 2011. 
  • Cruise passenger embarkations from U.S. ports increased by 5.4 percent from 2014 to 2016, to 11.66 million, another record.
  • Direct spending by the cruise lines and their passengers and crew in the U.S. totaled $21.69 billion in 2016, up 3.2 percent from 2014 and 15 percent compared to 2011.
  • Direct expenditures for wages for U.S. employees and taxes paid to U.S. federal, state and local tax jurisdictions increased by nearly 4 percent to $1.48 billion.
  • The transportation sector, which includes cruise lines and ports, benefited from $7.35 billion in output, 78,066 jobs and $3.65 billion in wages and salaries.


Cruise passengers came from virtually every state, and the cruise lines made purchases in support of their operations in just about every state.

The top 10 U.S. cruise ports accounted for 87.2 percent of 2016 embarkations, virtually unchanged from 2014. Four Florida ports -Miami, Canaveral, Port Everglades, and Tampa – together accommodated nearly 7.0 million embarkations, or approximately 60 percent of the national total. 

Also ranking among the top 10 in 2016 were Galveston, Long Beach, New Orleans, New York, Tampa and Los Angeles. 

The report includes detailed reports on the economic impacts of the cruise industry on individual states.  

Other recent CLIA-sponsored  studies focus separately on the 2016  impacts of the cruise industry on the economies of  Canada, Europe, and North Asia.


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