CLIA and government ministers held a reception at the House of Commons this week to highlight the economic benefits of the cruise sector.
The event – the first of the new Cruise Industry and Government Forum – was sponsored by Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, whose constituency includes the Port of Southampton.
The cross-party event also heard from maritime minister Baroness Vere (pictured above) and shadow maritime minister Mike Kane MP. In addition, 25 MPs representing different parties from all parts of the UK attended.
The reception gave MPs an opportunity to hear more about the contributions of the cruise industry to local economies across the UK, and to speak to senior cruise line and travel agent representatives.
Vere said: “The cruise industry has been vital for our economy, having contributed £9.4 billion, as well as creating jobs for thousands across the country.
“However, its impact goes beyond the economy and is a crucial part of our heritage which showcases the best the UK has to offer.
“The pandemic halted the growth of the sector, and that is why we jointly created the Cruise Industry and Government Forum – a platform to discuss shared goals in line with Maritime 2050. Government will continue to support the growth of the sector, as it enters a year of renewal.”
Businesses ‘rely’ on cruise
CLIA UK & Ireland MD Andy Harmer said: “There are thousands of businesses, including travel agents, tour operators and hotels, up and down the country, many of which are small or family run, which rely on a successful cruise industry.
“The economic benefits of cruise tourism to port cities are well documented and today was about recognising how these benefits extend beyond ports.
“[This] event was an important opportunity to bring together travel agent partners, cruise lines, port representatives with government ministers, MPs, and officials, to show that we are a connected industry with an extensive and diverse supply chain, making a positive impact across the UK.”
Kane added: “The cruise industry has been working closely with parliamentarians over the last three years, allowing it to have successfully returned following the pandemic, and to it making progress in supporting the net-zero agenda.”