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European cruise ship travel grows despite Italy crash

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The European cruise ship business grew by three percent in 2012 despite the eurozone crisis and the Costa Concordia liner disaster, a trade report said Tuesday.

"In the wake of European economic and financial uncertainties, European waters have become the new main streets for ports and cities to get down to business," Manfredi Lefebvre d'Odivio, the chairman of Cruise Lines International Association Europe said in the report released in Brussels.

For 2012, the sector in Europe employed 327,000 people, some 12,000 more compared with a year earlier, and in terms of output, the industry generated 37.9 billion euros ($48 billion) from 36.7 billion euros in 2011.

Europe is now steadily eating away at the market share held by the United States, the biggest consumers of cruise ship travel.

While the group said the number of passengers worldwide have almost doubled in the past 10 years to reach 20.9 million in 2012, the passenger numbers in Europe have almost tripled, accounting for around 30 percent of the world's total number of cruise ship travellers.

Meanwhile the January 2012 Costa Concordia disaster in Italy, in which 32 people lost their lives, had little effect on demand, with more than a third of Europe's cruise ship passengers boarding in Italian ports.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130625/european-cruise-ship-travel-grows-despite-italy-crash