Here’s How the Cruise Industry Impacted the U.S. Economy in 2019

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Back in the day when the cruise industry was cruising full speed ahead, it had a huge impact on the U.S. economy. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released its annual data on the economic impact to the U.S. and it shows just how important cruises are which also benefits 10 states.

CLIA Releases Data on U.S. Economic Impact in 2019

It feels like we’re in a different world right now compared to 2019 when the cruise industry was growing fast and had a huge impact on the U.S. economy. CLIA has released its annual report that shows the cruise industry generated a total of $55.5 billion in economic activity in the United States. That’s a 5.3% increase from 2018.

There was an increase in supported job with 436,600 American job paying $24.4 billion in wages in 2019—a 3.5% and 5.4% increase from 2018, respectively.

The latest figures follow nearly ten years of continued growth in the cruise industry, fueled by the rising popularity of cruise vacations. Over 13.7 million passengers embarked on cruise ships from U.S. ports in 2019, up nearly 8% from 2018 and 26% from just five years ago. 

Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of CLIA, said:

“The pre-pandemic trends clearly demonstrate that cruising has emerged as one of the fastest growing sectors of travel and tourism.”

“The cruise industry is proud to play an important role in the creation of jobs and economic opportunity for nearly half a million Americans throughout the country. At the same time, we recognize the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on our community. A resumption of cruising in the United States in 2021, with stringent measures in place and with the support of health authorities, will be critical to putting people back to work and fueling the greater economic recovery from the pandemic.”

The cruise industry impacts many sectors such as transportation and aviation along with smaller businesses, especially near the ports. Those have been heavily impacted by this year’s suspension of operations. CLIA also mentioned the top ten U.S. states that benefited from cruises the most:

  • Florida
  • California
  • Texas
  • New York
  • Alaska
  • Washington
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • New Jersey
  • Louisiana

It comes as no surprise that Florida is leading the list as there are three major cruise ports in the state. In 2019 PortMiami, Florida leads the most amount of passenger embarkations at just over 3.4 million. For all the data released by CLIA, you can read the full report (which is very long!) right here.

Photo Credit: pisaphotography /

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