Numbers to reach 45% above pre-Covid levels by 2027
Global cruise passenger numbers are projected to be 45% higher than pre-Covid levels by the end of 2027. The forecast came as part of a trading update by ports operator Global Ports Holding (GPH).
The company revealed an almost doubling in passengers handled across its ports network from 1.7 million to 3.1 million in the three months to 30 June 2023. This was 17% ahead of pre-pandemic 2019 levels.
Quarterly revenue rose by 60% to $43.3 million, with adjusted profits up 86% to $28.6 million.
A GPH spokesperson said: “Those ports that had a more muted summer 2022 season have, as expected, experienced a pick-up in trading and our call reservations point towards continued strong performance for the remainder of the fiscal year to March 2024.”
Looking forward, the company added: “The outlook for the cruise industry remains positive. Long-established demand and supply trends have re-established themselves as key drivers of growth in the industry. By the end of 2027, passenger volumes are expected to be 45% higher than pre-Covid levels.
“This strong level of industry growth means there is a need for significant levels of investment in cruise port infrastructure in order to meet the needs of both the growing number of cruise ships and the growing size of cruise ships as well as the increased demand from passengers for an improved cruise port experience.
“This growth is creating exciting opportunities for cruise ports but also presents potential risks, as cruise ports will face substantial challenges to meet the demands and needs of the industry.”
Co-founder, chief executive and chair Mehmet Kutman said: "GPH has had a strong start to the 2024 financial year, and I am delighted with the trading performance across our port network. I am excited about the prospects for considerable further organic growth from our current port network, and the current strong pipeline of opportunities to grow the number of ports in our network."
GPH plans to expand and upgrade Saint Lucia’s port to handle the largest cruise ships after has agreeing a 30-year concession with a 10-year option to run the Caribbean port.The company pledged to invest in a “material expansion and upgrade” of the cruise port facilities. The investment will allow the port to handle the largest cruise ships in the global cruise fleet, increasing the port's capacity.
GPH also plans to transform the retail offering, “continuing our commitment to driving significant economic benefits for the local population, this investment will include an exciting new space for local vendors”.