The fourth "European Cruise Contribution” report of the European Cruise Council highlights further growth in the economic impact of the cruise industry in Europe in 2008: direct expenditure of 14.2 billion euros (+10%), 311,000 employees (+11%), 21.7 million passenger visits in European ports (+15%), 4.4 million cruisers (+10%). The Italian Company confirms its position as the leader in Europe with 1,200,000 total Guests in 2008, 14 ships currently in service and 3 new ships on order.

The initial findings of a study commissioned by Costa and conducted by MIP, the Milan Polytechnic School of Management, reveal that in 2008 the Costa Cruises brand alone generated total business output in Italy worth at least 1.1 billion euros.

Genoa – May 19, 2009 – With a fleet of 14 ships presently in service, 3 new ships due for delivery by 2012, a record 1,200,000 total Guests in 2008 and 1,500,000 forecast for 2010, Costa Cruises has confirmed its position as the number one cruise line and leading player in Europe, where – according to the latest European Cruise Council (ECC) figures – the expansion of the industry is exceeding expectations in terms of its impact on jobs, wealth creation and inbound tourism in Italy and across the continent.

The fourth edition of the “European Cruise Contribution” report of the ECC, presented today in Rome, shows direct expenditure by cruise companies, shipyards and passengers of 14.2 billion euros in 2008 (a 10% increase on the previous year), of which 4.3 billion euros in Italy (+ 9% compared to 2007), the country which derives the greatest economic benefits from the cruise industry in Europe (30% of total spending in 2008).

A key factor behind this growth is the increasing number of passengers embarking on cruises from European ports, up 10% at 4.7 million in 2008. Italian ports are the busiest in Europe with 1.7 million departing passengers. There is a similar pattern for the continent’s transit passengers, who numbered 21.7 million in 2008 (+14%). Italy remains Europe’s favorite cruise destination with 23% of transit passenger movements, followed by Greece (20%), Spain (17%) and France (8%).

Europe’s position as the world leader in cruise ship design and construction is also helping to drive this growth: the ECC report estimates that during 2008 the global cruise industry spent around 5.2 billion euros on cruise ship construction and maintenance in Europe, of which 1.5 billion in Italy, once again the country with the biggest slice of the cake.

2008 also saw a rise in the number of Europeans taking cruise holidays, up 10% to 4.4 million. In addition, there was an increase in the number of people employed in the cruise industry in Europe, with approximately 311,000 jobs in 2008, 15% more than the previous year.

In this context of rapid expansion, Costa Cruises has consolidated its position as the largest Italian travel group and Europe’s number one cruise line. In 2008 the Italian Company carried a total of 1,200,000 cruise Guests (75% Europeans), setting a historic record for Europe. What’s more, Costa Cruises has its sights set on achieving 1.5 million total Guests in 2010. In 2008 the Costa Crociere S.p.A. Group (comprising the brands Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Iberocruceros) recorded total sales of 2.35 billion euros (+17% compared to 2007).

The Costa Cruises fleet is Europe’s largest and most advanced with 14 cruise ships (including the Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica), all flying the Italian flag, and total Guest capacity of around 36,000. The Italian Company has the biggest order book of any cruise line anywhere in the world: 5 new builds between 2009 and 2012, all commissioned from Fincantieri and under construction in Italy, with an overall investment worth almost 2.4 billion euros. In actual fact, 3 of the new ships are due to join the fleet in less than twelve months. The Costa Luminosa (92,600 gross tonnage and 2826 total Guests), delivered on April 30 this year, will be followed on May 29 by the Costa Pacifica (114,500 gross tonnage and 3780 total Guests) and at the end of January 2010 by the Costa Deliziosa, sister ship of the Costa Luminosa. Two sister ships of the Costa Pacifica will join the fleet in spring 2011 and 2012. AIDa Cruises, the German affiliate of the Costa Group, also contributes to the development of the European shipbuilding industry. The AIDAluna (68,500 gross tonnage and 2500 total Guests) entered service in March this year. Another 3 vessels, each able to accommodate 2500 Guests, are on order from Meyer Werft and due to join the fleet in spring 2010, 2011 and 2012, with a total investment of over 1 billion euros.

Costa Cruises has commissioned MIP, the Milan Polytechnic School of Management, to conduct a study assessing the economic benefits derived from its activity in Italy. According to the initial results of the survey, the Costa Cruises brand alone produced total business output in Italy worth at least 1.1 billion euros, generated by the port calls of Costa’s ships, cruise passenger movements to and from airports, general expenditure, transport, fees and taxes, and investment in new ships. Initial estimates suggest that the regions that benefited most from the activity of allied industries last year were Liguria, Lombardy, Latium and Sicily.

Costa Cruises’ leadership is also confirmed by statistics from the main Mediterranean ports. According to the ECC report, the top 6 EU cruise ports in 2008 were Barcelona (2 million passengers), Civitavecchia (1.8 million passengers), Naples (1.2 million passengers), Venice (1.2 million passengers), Palma de Mallorca (1.1 million passengers) and Savona (772.000 passengers). Costa Cruises’ ships accounted for about 30% of the passengers in these leading 6 Mediterranean ports, with 2.1 cruisers (embarking, disembarking or in transit) last year.