Cruise Industry Seeing Signs of Optimism, Gradual Return of Cruise Ships in 2021


Cruise Industry Seeing Signs of Optimism, Gradual Return of Cruise Ships in 2021

By dronepicr – Cruise ships at Dubrovnik Cruise Port, Croatia, CC BY 2.0,

ZAGREB, 31 July, 2021 – The cruise industry is seeing signs of optimism, with  cruise ships gradually returning, including to the Croatian Adriatic, after last year’s crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, while recovery and better results are expected in 2022 and 2023.

This was stated by Maria Deligianni, director of the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) for Eastern Mediterranean, in an interview with Hina.

CLIA is the world’s umbrella cruise industry association whose members are almost all of the world’s biggest cruise companies, numerous travel agencies and others.

In the past several years it has been strengthening cooperation with Croatia, notably Dubrovnik.

After a break of almost a year and a half, big cruise ships started returning to Dubrovnik in mid-April.

Deligianni notes that epidemiological restrictions on cruise ships exceed those in force elsewhere, including various checks, frequent testing of passengers and crews and enhanced cleaning.

The gradual easing of travel restrictions and vaccination have resulted in increased demand, with around 80% of cruise ships announcing plans to go on cruises in the next two years.

More than 100 ocean cruises have been restored this year, including in Europe, the Canaries and the Mediterranean.

Deligianni notes that the industry is expected to recover to the pre-pandemic level in 2022 and 2023.

Croatia important destination, Dubrovnik among most popular destinations

Asked about Croatia’s position on the global cruise industry map, Deligianni said that it was an important European market, with Dubrovnik as one of the most popular destinations.

In 2019 around 1.3 million passengers visited Croatian destinations, which generates an annual revenue of €818 million and more than 14,000 jobs, which is why CLIA appreciates very much the opportunity to again travel safely to Croatian ports, she said.

Deligianni noted that before the coronavirus pandemic Dubrovnik had accounted for around 770,000 passengers on cruises annually, which is 60% of all passengers on cruises in Croatia.

CLIA does not expect COVID-19 to affect Dubrovnik’s popularity as it is a very sought-after and safe destination, Deligianni said, thanking Mayor Mato Franković and his team for creating conditions for that as well as the government for its decision to reopen the tourism sector.

Global losses in the cruise industry caused by the pandemic in the period from March to September 2020 are estimated at $77 billion. 

Deligianni said the industry’s contribution to the global economy before 2020 was $155 billion and it employed around 1.2 million people, with around 518,000 of those jobs having been lost due to the pandemic so far.

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