Next year looks like a good year for the cruise and holiday industry.
The Zhitong Finance app learned that according to data from US cruise operators and travel agencies, next year seems to be a good year for the cruise and vacation industry, as travelers of all income and budget levels book more itineraries than before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data from the International Cruise Association (CLIA), it is estimated that there will be 35.7 million cruise passengers in 2024, up from 31.5 million in 2023, which is 6% more passengers than in 2019.
In 2024, tourists want to take cruises because they are still cheaper than land transportation. As occupancy rates approach pre-pandemic levels, operators plan to increase prices over the next few months.
Bob Levinstein, CEO of the online cruise marketplace website Cruise Compete, said: “Overall, the market is very strong, especially the high-end luxury cruise market.”
Truist Securities analyst Patrick Scholes said cruise bookings will reach record levels in 2024 despite travelers cancelling or postponing holiday plans to the Middle East.
Prior to the attack on Israel on October 7, the number of industry-wide bookings in 2024 was about 25% higher than in 2020. Scholes said that in November, the number of bookings for 2024 was about 20% higher than the same period in 2019.
Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL.US) CEO Jason Liberty said in an October earnings call: “Demand continues to accelerate in 2024, and bookings have continued to far exceed 2019 levels.”
But production capacity is hampering bookings. Josh Weinstein, CEO of Carnival Cruises (CCL.US), said in September that although the company's production capacity has increased by 5% compared to 2023, business volume will decline in 2024 because the company may run out of inventory.
Smaller operators say their business volume is full. Atle Brynestad, CEO of SeaDream Yacht Club, a private luxury cruise company headquartered in Oslo, said bookings for 2024 and 2025 were very strong, and they have already opened reservations for fall 2026.
Online travel companies have noticed a boom in cruise travel. Booking.com, the largest brand under Booking Holdings (BKNG.US), launched a vertical cruise business in November to capture growing cruise demand.
Ben Harrell, managing director of Booking.com in the US, said: “Cruise travelers are loyal. The data shows that most people who have taken a cruise will return, making it the best choice for continued growth.”