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Cruise spending reaches record $21bn in the US

Florida accounted for 62% of all US cruise embarkations in 2014 and the state benefited more than any other from cruise spending. Pictured: PortMiami
Cruise lines, their passengers and crew spent a record $21bn in the US in 2014, according to a new study from Cruise Lines International Association. Total contributions of the global cruise industry to the US economy topped $46bn, 4.5% higher than in 2013, and also a new record.

This includes generating 373,738 US jobs paying more than $19bn in wages and salaries.

More than 11m passengers (11.06m) embarked cruise ships in US ports last year, a new high and the largest increase (11%) in a decade.

CLIA's acting ceo, Cindy D'Aoust, called the global cruise industry 'a critical contributor to the US economy' and noted cruising's economic impact spreads across the country, touching all 50 states. This includes the purchase of goods and services and revenue from passengers traveling to cruise vacations.

According to the CLIA study, conducted by Business Research & Economic Advisors, the Top 10 US ports accounted for 88% of 2014 embarkations, with 62% of all US embarkations in Florida. Embarkations at California's four ports totaled 984,000 in 2014, a 49% increase.

D'Aoust attributed California's jump to the rebound in cruises originating in Los Angeles and Long Beach. These ports increased embarkations as more three- and four-day cruises were offered.

Direct cruise spending was $7.9bn in Florida, accounting for 146,401 jobs and $6.8bn in income. The No. 2 state was California, with $2.2bn in direct cruise spending and 44,369 jobs created paying $2.7bn in wages. Texas ranked third, with $1.3bn in direct spending, 22,689 jobs and $1.4bn in wages. New York benefited from $1.2bn in direct spending, with 15,890 jobs paying $971m in wages.

The rest of the Top 10, in order, were Alaska ($953m in direct spending and 18,583 jobs), Washington ($743m and 17,362 jobs), Georgia ($666m and 12,442 jobs), Illinois ($509m and 7,799 jobs), Massachusetts ($438m and 6,825 jobs) and New Jersey ($412m and 7,721 jobs).

Details of CLIA's 2014 economic impact study are here.