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Cruise industry recovers to pre-pandemic levels with over $30 billion in revenue – London Business News | Londonlovesbusiness.com

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Over the past four years, the cruise industry has been struggling with the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused its revenue and the number of users to sink deep below the 2019 levels.

However, 2024 could mark the turning point for the market and bring the long-awaited recovery.

According to data presented by Stocklytics.com, the cruise industry is set to reach pre-pandemic levels, with over $30 billion in revenue and 29 million users in 2024.

Confidence in cruise lines plummeted after COVID-19 hit, turning the cruise market into the worst-hit sector of the tourism industry. Cruise lines worldwide practically disappeared in the early days of the pandemic, causing revenue and the number of users to plunge by almost 90% year-over-year. The road to recovery after such a devastating hit was long, much longer than in other segments of the tourism industry.

For instance, hotels, package holidays, and vacation rentals all saw their revenue and users recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2023. However, the cruise market continued struggling on the bumpy road of recovery.

According to a Statista Market Insights survey, the global cruise industry generated $25.1 billion in revenue last year or $2 billion less than in 2019. Also, roughly 24 million people went on cruising, 5 million less than before the pandemic. However, Statista expects things to change this year, with 2024 marking a turning point for the market.

Statistics show that cruise companies will generate $30.1 billion in revenue this year, almost 20% more than in 2023, turning the cruise market into the fastest-growing segment of the tourism industry. Although most global tourism revenue comes from hotels, this segment will see an 8.6% year-over-year growth. Package holidays and vacation rentals follow with 7.3% and 6.1% revenue growth, respectively. Also, Statista expects roughly 29 million people to go on cruising this year, practically the same as before the pandemic.

In global comparison, the United States remains the world’s largest cruise market, expected to generate $15.1 billion in revenue or half of the market’s total in 2024. Far below, Germany, China, and the United Kingdom follow with roughly $2.5 billion in revenue each, respectively.

The positive market outlook brought optimism among investors, causing stocks of the top cruise companies to rise above the levels seen last year.

As the single largest player in the cruise industry with a 20% market share, the Royal Caribbean Group saw its stock price jump by 87% year-over-year, adding more than $18 billion to its stock value. Last week, the market cap of the world’s largest cruise company was roughly $38 billion, up from $20 billion in the same month last year.

The stock price of Carnival Corporation, the second largest player in the market, increased by 34% in this period, helping the company to add over $5 billion to its stock value.

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