Information from the International Cruise Line Association shows the industry could exceed $130 billion USD this year, with a growth of 5 percent and a record number of over 27 million passengers globally with Mexico already seeing a 12 percent growth in cruise arrivals.
Global figures from 2017 rang in at 25.8 million cruise passengers, a number, experts say, could reach 27.2 million this year, while surpassing the $126 billion market from 2016.
During 2017, various ports around Mexico hosted more than 7.2 million cruise travelers, a figure up more than 13 percent from 2016 where the country counted 6.4 million. According to the Ministry of Tourism of Mexico, 2,669 cruise ships docked around the country in 2016.
However, last year, that figure increased by 12.2 percent to 2,545 as Mexico became a preferred destination. In 2017, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, mainly Cozumel, were on 66.8 percent of cruise ship’s itineraries.
Ruth Leal, director of the Princess Cruises shipping company for Latin America, says the cruise industry is growing including the interest of new tourists, which as a whole, has a positive impact on the global economy.
She points out that over the last decade, the number of cruise passengers has increased by nearly 10 million, from 17.8 million in 2009 to 25.8 last year and a forecast 27.2 for 2018.
She adds that in order to keep cruisers interested, companies are constantly adding new experiences to their itineraries and improving customer service by adding themes and new technologies to ships.
The main cruise ports around Mexico include Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Ensenada, Huatulco, La Paz, Loreto, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Progreso, Puerto Chiapas and Puerto Vallarta. Last year, the island of Cozumel saw the arrival of nearly 4 million cruise passengers.