Cruise industry pumps $3.2bn into Canada's economy

British Columbia accounts for 66% of direct cruise industry spending. Here, ships at Vancouver's Canada Place British Columbia accounts for 66% of direct cruise industry spending. Here, ships at Vancouver's Canada Place (Photo: Port of Vancouver)

Cruise ships, passengers and crew contribute significantly to Canada's economy, and spending is growing at a healthy rate across all three major cruise regions: British Columbia, Québec and Atlantic Canada.

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

The total economic impact of $3.2bn, including direct and indirect spending, increased 34% since 2012. This was 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 favorable Canadian exchange rate.

The 9% increase in passenger visits between 2012 and 2016 is about to be eclipsed by a 14% single-year growth forecast for 2017, ensuring further spending increases in the coming year.

Direct spending by cruise lines totaled $933m, including items such as goods and services (food and beverages, fuel, maintenance/repair, equipment and supplies), shoreside staffing, port fees and services, equipment and advertising/promotion.

Passengers' direct spending on lodging, tours and transportation, food and beverage and retail, totaled just over half a billion dollars, a 12% increase since 2012.

Passenger visits to all Canadian ports totaled 2.23m in 2016, 9% more than the 2.05m in 2012.

An estimated just over 23,000 direct and indirect jobs were created, paying in excess of $1bn in salaries and wages. Total employment generated by the cruise industry has increased 31% since 2012.

Of the national total, BC accounts for 66% of direct cruise industry spending, Québec for 15% and Atlantic Canada for 7%. Other provinces and territories also benefit.

'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,' said Greg Wirtz, president and ceo, CLIA North West & Canada.

According to Bardish Chagger, minister of small business and tourism and leader of the government in the House of Commons, the 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, he added, is an economic driver for every Canadian community, supporting close to 1.7m jobs and 200,000 businesses from coast to coast to coast.

'With this study, we see that Canada is becoming increasingly attractive to cruise ship visitors,' said Charlotte Bell, president and ceo, Tourism Industry Association of Canada. '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.'

Posted 28 April 2017

© Copyright 2019 Seatrade UBM (UK) Ltd. Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Seatrade UBM (UK) Ltd.

Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review