To help sustain and grow a key sector of New York City’s tourism and destination industry with an estimated impact of $230 million to the city’s economy, the New York Cruise Ship Alliance (NYCSA) has announced it will expand its role in advocating initiatives that create additional jobs, generate expanded economic activity and make further use of the city’s passenger ship piers in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Dionne Broadus, Director of the NYCSA, said, “Competition is a powerful force that drives the tourism industry worldwide. Our challenge is to ensure that New York’s leadership role as a primary northeast port of embarkation for passenger ships of every flag remains strong. Our goal is to work more closely with key tourism groups and to support the cruise industry’s growth in New York, which in turn will have a positive economic impact for the region. Working together, we believe the industry’s local economic impact can well exceed $230 million over time. We are excited about the potential for growth and we are looking forward to implementing new and innovative ideas.”

Patrick Foye, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, stated, "The cruise ship industry is an integral part of the region's economy and a job creator on both sides of the Hudson. We look forward to working with the Alliance on shared goals as the Port Authority continues to invest in the critical infrastructure needed to support this vital industry in Brooklyn and Bayonne.”

A report issued by the New York City Economic Development Corporation reveals the City of New York experienced 620,000 passenger embarkations during 2013 with the city ranking among the nation’s top five cruise ports in embarking passengers.

The Manhattan Cruise Terminal continues to handle approximately 90% of the passengers while the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal welcomed the remaining 10%. New York’s passenger piers berth vessels offering cruises to Canada, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. While the cruises to Canada and Bermuda are seasonal, cruises to the Bahamas and the Caribbean are offered on year-round.  The city report found there were 98% more international passengers embarking on cruises from New York during 2013 than the previous year.

Ms. Broadus said there is a pressing reason why the Alliance has made a conscious decision to promote the cruise ship industry in New York this year.  “Many of the factors that would allow for additional benefits for the city’s economy are dependent on forces outside its control, including the cost of fuel and berthing accommodations offered by destination nations.  To protect us from those uncertainties we want as robust and dynamic cruise ship port as possible here in New York.”

Including homeport and transit calls, cruising at New York ports generated an estimated 857,000 passenger and crew visits, accounting for 3.9% of all passenger and crew visits in the United States. This was a 4.4 % decrease from 2011. These visits produced an estimated $153 million in passenger and crew onshore spending, or just over $178 per visit. Passenger and crew spending declined by 3.7% from 2011.

During 2013, embarking passengers spent an estimated $118.9 million. Onshore crew spent another $18.7 million while transiting passengers spent $3.6 million. Not surprisingly, many passengers stayed overnight in New York, spending an average of $437 per passenger during a two night stay.  

During a 2011 survey only 13% of the passengers reported that this was their first visit to New York City, while 53% stated this was their eighth or more visit. At least 41% made it a point to stay overnight at least one day to enjoy the city. Overall, 93% of embarking passengers were satisfied with their visit to New York City.

Broadus concluded, “We need to appreciate that the industry’s ability to continue to sustain and grow these kinds of economic benefits is at risk from outside forces that impact New York. This includes competitive efforts from other eastern seaboard port cities to lure visitors, escalating fuel costs and the restrictive berthing policies of destination vacation ports. It is not a challenge we intend to ignore.”