The Next Ten Years: Five Trends to Watch
Five cruise industry trends for the next ten years
- Continued development of onboard activities as bigger ships continue to be built. Larger ships accommodate more activities, which translates to increased onboard revenue and bottom line profits.
- Ecotourism will become a major factor in the features and benefits promoted by cruise lines. There will be a growing demand for people to experience threatened ecosystems – rain forests in Brazil and Puerto Rico, glaciers in Greenland and the Artic, and historic venues.
- Socially (people-to-people) oriented tourism will be a growing trend as the demand for something more than a “walking tour of the old city” grows. Specifically, Cuba, which has laid dormant for U.S. cruisers for more than 50 years, is already a focus for this activity.
- New venues and ports will enhance the cruise experience. There is a growing need for more ports of call and landside experiences. On the recreational side, there is the emergence of “sun, sand, and shopping” mini-ports in the Caribbean. In terms of sightseeing and traditional tourism, “little discovered” ports and experiences (in Indonesia and India, for example) will be added to the list.
- Emerging marine technologies will permit ships to become faster without increased costs. This, in turn, will open new possibilities in venues that have widespread ports of call.
The writer has been a consultant to the cruise industry for over 30 years. In 1997, he authored a white paper accurately predicting the growth of the industry based on the demographic “bulge” of high potential cruisers, the demise of marginal cruise operators and the rise of the concept of “ship as destination.”