Turbulence in world trade shows no sign of easing as we encounter the choppy waters of inflation, supply chain issues and rising interest rates in the wake of two years of economic problems caused by the pandemic.

Whether you’re an importer, exporter, shipping line or a supplier in the port industry, planning your business future is currently a significant challenge.

The same uncertainty applies to the cruise environment, just as the industry appeared to be reclaiming much of its market after the suspension in global operations imposed by the pandemic. The good news is that several lines are currently reporting a healthy level of bookings for 2023 with figures from the Cruise Line Industry Association showing that intent to book a holiday at sea among UK passengers is higher than in 2019.

Besides the obvious benefit to cruise lines, the sector is vital in helping the economies of port cities such as Southampton, Liverpool and Portsmouth through potentially challenging times.

The value of those cruise passengers, whether transiting ships or visiting cities as day callers, will be underlined even further as they bring much-needed additional spending power to city centres. It therefore remains essential that cities and their wider business communities appreciate the part played by cruise ships in bringing revenue to the regional economy.

Ships with large volumes of passengers can bolster local economies by millions of pounds with their contributions to hotels, restaurants, shops and services such as taxis. On a single turnaround day in Southampton, tens of thousands of passengers can travel through the city.

Organisations such as Cruise Britain do a great job in helping to attract cruise lines to call in the UK and we are committed to playing our part in ensuring that the lines benefit from a competitive and premium service in their operations as part of the overall passenger experience.

Pressures will undoubtedly mount on all providers over the coming months and cruise lines will respond. They will position their ships in the regions where business is best and the UK and its ports will come under the spotlight. The emphasis is now on everyone who benefits from the cruise sector in the UK to recognise its contribution to the greater good.