The fourth edition of the European Cruise Contribution report of
the ECC, presented in Rome this week, shows direct expenditure by
cruise companies, shipyards and passengers of 14.2 billion Euros in
2008, a 10 percent increase from the previous year. 4.3 billion euros
came from Italy at a 9 percent gain over 2007. Italy derives the
greatest economic benefits from the cruise industry in Europe at 30
percent of total spending in 2008.

A key factor behind this growth is the increasing number of
passengers embarking on cruises from European ports, up 10 percent to
4.7 million in 2008. Italian ports are the busiest in Europe with 1.7
million departing passengers. There is a similar pattern for the
continent's transit passengers, who numbered 21.7 million in 2008, up
14 percent. Italy remains Europe's favorite cruise destination with 23
percent of transit passenger movements, followed by Greece, 20 percent,
Spain 17 percent and France at 8 percent.

Another rise for 2008 was seen in the number of Europeans taking
holiday cruises, up 10 percent to 4.4 million. In addition, there was
an increase in the number of people employed in the cruise industry in
Europe, with approximately 311,000 jobs in 2008, 15 percent more than
the previous year.