WHILE I sympathise with anyone losing their job with Carnival, I question the sustainability of the cruise industry.

Once only accessible to the rich and famous, in the days when many of the crew came from Southampton, cruising gradually became more affordable.

By reducing overheads, employing cheap foreign labour and registering ships in Caribbean tax havens, a cruise was no longer a luxury.

ABP has consistently claimed there are huge benefits to the local economy.

The latest figure is £2 million per stopover. However there's no proof of how this figure is reached.

The City Council makes no money from mooring fees, with the port being on private land mostly owned by overseas companies.

It's hard for the Council to challenge ABP over local air quality, thanks to ships having to generate their own power, for the same reason.

But for a senior lecturer in tourism at Solent University, to claim that there is a financial benefit of £30,000 a day just in taxi fares, when a ship is in port, is utter rubbish (Echo May 13th).

His assumption that with 3,000 passengers on a ship, if each one "spends a tenner on a taxi, that's £30,000" is completely flawed as obviously all passengers don't arrive alone by taxi!

A council report in 2011, which looked at previous research from Carnival, showed at least 28% drove to the port and parked there, at least 25% came directly by coach, an unknown number were dropped off by friends, while others arrived by public transport, then took a taxi.

Passengers usually travel at least in pairs so the number of taxis used could be less than 400, so more like £4,000 in fares.

Some stay overnight in hotels, spending at the time of the research an average of £67 each. But no figures show exactly how many stay and unless surveys were done, this is unquantifiable.

With most onboard food being sourced in Europe, where it is cheaper, it's hard to know who gets the £2 million windfall from a visit.

Certainly not the local shops and restaurants, as Southampton is an embarkation port not a port of call.

Even the weekly visit of the Aida from Germany would see many passengers heading to London or Winchester for the day.

So we shouldn't lament the demise of the industry, even if short term.

The long term health implications for local residents exposed to continuing pollution from the inactive ships, is a far more serious concern.

Cara Sandys

Portswood, Southampton