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Global Cruise Industry Contributes $530 Million to NJ Economy

Growing Passenger Embarkations in New Jersey Reach 360,000

The New Jersey economy continued to benefit from the cruise industry in 2018 according to a new study from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association. The study found the global cruise industry contributed $530 million to New Jersey’s economy in 2018, accounting for 2.2 % of the industry’s spending nationwide.

The recently released CLIA 2018 Economic Impact Analysis also found the cruise industry’s direct expenditures in New Jersey had an impact of 9,649 jobs and $584 million in wages and salaries.  According to CLIA’s study, New Jersey ranks ninth in the top ten states benefitting economically from the cruise industry.

“The 2018 Economic Impact Analysis shows the cruise industry’s growth in New Jersey is a positive economic driver in the state,” said Kelly Craighead, CLIA’s president and CEO. “The cruise industry is proud to support so many businesses and individuals throughout the state across multiple sectors, including travel and tourism, manufacturing, food and beverage and most importantly, employment and wages. The industry is also proud of the dramatic growth in the number of passengers embarking cruises in New Jersey, which is reflective of the increasing popularity of cruising in the United States and in particular among New Jersey residents.”

Passenger Embarkations

New Jersey is primarily a place of embarkation for cruises to Canada, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. While cruises to Canada and Bermuda are seasonal (spring through fall months), cruises to the Bahamas and the Caribbean are offered on a year-round basis. Cape Liberty, New Jersey’s cruise port, saw an estimated 360,000 passenger embarkations during 2018, 2.8% of total U.S. embarkations and an increase of nearly 41% from 2016.

Industry Spending & Impact in New Jersey

According to the study, of the $530 million contributed to the New Jersey economy, tourism-related businesses such as travel agencies, airlines, hotels, etc., received about $292 million, or approximately 55% in the state. The employment impact rose by 14%, while the wage impact rose by 17% from 2016 to 2018.

Crew & Passenger Spending

As the report indicates, the cruise industry plays a leadership role in global tourism and is a growing vacation choice in major markets throughout the world, including New Jersey. Given the strong ties between the state of New Jersey and the cruise industry, growth in cruising is inextricably linked to greater economic impact across the state. Cruising at New Jersey’s ports generated nearly 513,000 passenger visits and crew arrivals, accounting for 1.9% of all passenger visits and crew arrivals in the United States. These visits produced an estimated $25.4 million in passenger and crew onshore spending, or $50 per passenger visit and crew arrival.

2018 CLIA Economic Impact Analysis

New Jersey Total Share of the U.S. (%)


Passenger Embarkations 360,000 2.8


Resident Cruise Passengers 396,000 3.0


Total Passenger & Crew Visits 513,000 1.9


Direct Expenditures ($ millions) $530 2.2


Total Employment Impact 9,649 2.3


Total Wage Impact ($ millions) $584 2.5

Top Ten States Benefitting Economically from the Global Cruise Industry

  1. Florida
  2. California
  3. Texas
  4. New York
  5. Alaska
  6. Washington
  7. Georgia
  8. Illinois
  9. New Jersey
  10. Louisiana

Global Cruise Industry’s Contributions to the U.S. Economy

In 2018, cruise lines, their passengers and crew spent a record $23.96 billion in the U.S., up 10.5% since 2016 and representing a new peak in U.S. cruise industry expenditures. Total contributions of the global cruise industry to the U.S. economy reached a record $52.7 billion in 2018, up 10.3% from 2016. This includes generating 421,711 U.S. jobs contributing more than $23 billion in wages and salaries.

These numbers reflect the growing consensus cruising has evolved into a mainstream choice for travelers of all means and backgrounds, as well as a leader in the tourism sector. The cruise industry recognizes with growth comes added responsibility to ensure the destinations we visit remain a welcoming and beautiful place to both live in and visit for generations to come.

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