"This certainly is wonderful news, but it doesn't surprise me," told Michele M. Paige, FCCA president, during the 19th annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association's Conference and Trade Show in Curaçao. "FCCA members are known for seeing opportunities."
The new study analyzed spending by passengers, crew members and cruise lines. Among BREA's findings:
- Cruise passengers (15.44 million) spent $1.48 billion in 21 participating destinations, with per passenger expenditures ranging from $185.40 in St. Maarten to $27.10 in St. Vincent & the Grenadines and averaging $95.92. An average of 52 percent of passengers bought shore excursions, generating $270 million in total payments to tour operators. Other notable purchases include watches and jewelry ($583 million); clothing ($158 million); food and beverage ($106.5 million) and local crafts and souvenirs ($87 million).
- Crew members (2.7 million) spent over $261 million in the 21 destinations, with per crew expenditures ranging from $138.30 in the U.S. Virgin Islands and $21.40 in St. Vincent & the Grenadines and averaging $96.98.
- Cruise lines spent an estimated $246.9 million in participating destinations for port fees and taxes, utilities, navigation services and ship supplies.
BREA-surveyed destinations included Antigua & Barbuda; Aruba; The Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Curacao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Honduras; Nicaragua; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Maarten; St. Vincent & the Grenadines; Turks & Caicos; and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Paige noted that polled passengers' experience showed a strong indication that they are likely to cruise again in the region and spend money. Passengers told BREA that they were "very satisfied" with:
- Overall destination visit.
- Shore excursions.
- Friendliness of residents and courtesy of employees.
- Initial shoreside welcome.
- Historic sites/museums.
- Local transportation