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Southampton leads way as cruise industry records broken again
THE British cruise industry has seen another record breaking year for passenger numbers with the port of Southampton leading the way over the last 12 months.
Figures released today by the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) show that 2012 saw 962,000 people embark on cruise ships, an increase of ten per cent, from UK ports.
This fourth, double-digit increase in cruise passenger embarkations in just seven years puts British ports on course to hit the million mark in 2013.
According to the PSA, Southampton experienced the most substantial increase in capacity which can largely be attributed to the ease of access to the ships for those living in the south.
There was a similar increase in passengers visiting UK ports during their cruises. The 11 per cent increase saw 723,000 passengers visit British ports, double the 2007 figure.
Southampton is also expecting a dramatic rise in the number of ships on northern European itineraries calling at the city during 2013.
Last year also saw more British passengers taking an ocean cruise holiday than ever before, an additional 1,000 brought the total to 1,701,000.
A PSA spokesman said: “The figure is indicative of the loyalty of cruise passengers, given the challenging nature of the year which opened with the Concordia tragedy and saw the UK economy dip back into recession.
“Cruises continue to account for one in every eight of all overseas package holidays.
The number of British passengers who took more than one cruise in 2012 increased by 12 percentage points to 54 per cent, with 374,220 Britons booking three or more cruises within the year.
Southampton based cruise ships generate an estimated £500m a year for the local economy and the industry is one of the biggest employment sectors in the region.
This year the city's port will handle about 430 separate cruise ships calls.