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24.7m cruised in 2016, as China rose to No. 2 source market

Cruise Lines International Association reports 24.7m people cruised on the oceans in 2016, higher than the 24.2m projected, as China surpassed Germany to become the No. 2 source market.

The total count was up nearly 6.5% from 23.2m ocean cruisers in 2015. Based on new ship plans and deployment, CLIA projects 25.8m will cruise in 2017, up from its December forecast of 25.3m.

According to CLIA, China moved up to become the second largest source market for cruising, with 2.1m passengers, edging out Germany with 2.02m. Germany had recently surpassed the UK as No. 2. The US produced a world-leading 11.52m cruisers. Fourth largest market was the UK, with 1.89m, followed by Australia with 1.29m.

Canada and Italy each produced 750,000 passengers, France 570,000 and Spain and Brazil each generated 490,000.

Much of the industry’s growth can be attributed to the continuing development of Asia, where cruise capacity rose to a 9.2% share of the global market in 2016, a 38% increase from 2015. The increase, along with Asian travelers' propensity for shorter and more frequent cruises, has kept the region at the top of emerging cruise markets.

Top cruise destinations in 2016 were the Caribbean (35%), Mediterranean (18.3%), Europe not counting the Mediterranean (11.1%), Asia (9.2%), Australia/New Zealand/Pacific (6.1%), Alaska (4.2%) and South America (2.5%).