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Strong Numbers from European Cruise Industry in 2008

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 With a fleet of 14 ships presently in service, 3 new ships due for delivery by 2012, a record 1,200,000 total passengers in 2008 and 1,500,000 forecast for 2010, Costa Cruises has confirmed its position as a leading player in Europe, where – according to the latest European Cruise Council (ECC) figures – the expansion of the industry is exceeding expectations in terms of its impact on jobs, wealth creation and inbound tourism in Italy and across the continent.

The fourth edition of the “European Cruise Contribution” report of the ECC, presented on Tuesday in Rome, shows direct expenditure by cruise companies, shipyards and passengers of 14.2 billion euros in 2008 (a 10% increase on the previous year), of which 4.3 billion euros in Italy (+ 9% compared to 2007), the country which derives the greatest economic benefits from the cruise industry in Europe (30% 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% at 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 (+14%).

 Italy remains Europe’s favorite cruise destination with 23% of transit passenger movements, followed by Greece (20%), Spain (17%) and France (8%).

Europe’s position as the world leader in cruise ship design and construction is also helping to drive this growth: the ECC report estimates that during 2008 the global cruise industry spent around 5.2 billion euros on cruise ship construction and maintenance in Europe, of which 1.5 billion in Italy, once again the country with the biggest slice of the cake.

2008 also saw a rise in the number of Europeans taking cruise holidays, up 10% 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% more than the previous year.

In 2008 Costa Cruises carried a total of 1,200,000 cruise passengers (75% Europeans), setting a historic record for Europe. What’s more, Costa Cruises has its sights set on achieving an 1.5 million total in 2010. In 2008 the Costa Crociere S.p.A. Group (comprising the brands Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Iberocruceros) recorded total sales of 2.35 billion euros (+17% compared to 2007).

The Costa Cruises fleet comprises 14 cruise ships (including the Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica), all flying the Italian flag, with total passenger capacity of around 36,000.

 The Italian company also has one of the biggest order books of any cruise line anywhere in the world: 5 new builds between 2009 and 2012, all commissioned from Fincantieri and under construction in Italy, with an overall investment worth almost 2.4 billion euros.

Three of the new ships are due to join the fleet in less than twelve months. The Costa Luminosa (92,600 gross tonnage and 2826 total pax), delivered on April 30 this year, will be followed on May 29 by the Costa Pacifica (114,500 gross tonnage and 3780 total pax) and at the end of January 2010 by the Costa Deliziosa, sister ship of the Costa Luminosa. Two sister ships of the Costa Pacifica will join the fleet in spring 2011 and 2012.

 AIDa Cruises, the German affiliate of the Costa Group, also contributes to the development of the European shipbuilding industry. The AIDAluna (68,500 gross tonnage and 2500 total pax) entered service in March this year. Another 3 vessels, each able to accommodate 2500 passengers, are on order from Meyer Werft and due to join the fleet in spring 2010, 2011 and 2012, with a total investment of over 1 billion euros.

Costa Cruises has commissioned MIP, the Milan Polytechnic School of Management, to conduct a study assessing the economic benefits derived from its activity in Italy. According to the initial results of the survey, the Costa Cruises brand alone produced total business output in Italy worth at least 1.1 billion euros, generated by the port calls of Costa’s ships, cruise passenger movements to and from airports, general expenditure, transport, fees and taxes, and investment in new ships. Initial estimates suggest that the regions that benefited most from the activity of allied industries last year were Liguria, Lombardy, Latium and Sicily.

Costa Cruises’ strength is also confirmed by statistics from the main Mediterranean ports. According to the ECC report, the top 6 EU cruise ports in 2008 were Barcelona (2 million passengers), Civitavecchia (1.8 million passengers), Naples (1.2 million passengers), Venice (1.2 million passengers), Palma de Mallorca (1.1 million passengers) and Savona (772.000 passengers). Costa Cruises’ ships accounted for about 30% of the passengers in these leading 6 Mediterranean ports, with 2.1 cruisers (embarking, disembarking or in transit) last year.

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