New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced today the results of an economic impact study of cruise passenger and crew spending in New York City. The study, conducted by Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA), found that passengers and crew spent an estimated $144.6 million in New York City in 2010, far exceeding the $93.8 million spent in 2009. The study also showed that the number of ships and passengers using the Manhattan and Brooklyn Cruise Terminals continues to increase, with the majority of cruise passengers coming from outside the city. The findings confirm that cruising continues to be an important component of the city’s tourism industry, which recently announced a record breaking year with 48.7 million visitors to the city.

“The cruise industry is an important contributor to New York City’s economy, and its recent growth is a strong indicator that it will remain an important source of economic activity in the future,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “We are attracting an increasing variety of cruise ships, as well as passengers from around the country, all of whom bring tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue to local businesses and support our economy.”

Spending was broken out into three categories: embarking passengers, who began their cruise in New York City, transit passengers, who took cruises that stopped in the city, and crew. Embarking passengers were the largest spenders with an estimated $117.9 million in direct spending, followed by on shore crew spending at $21.5 million, and transit passenger spending at $5.2 million. The largest spending categories for embarking passengers were hotel accommodations at over $69 million and food and beverages at over $17 million. Passengers with pre- or post-cruise overnight stays had the highest average spending per passenger at $437 during a two night stay.

Passenger arrivals in New York City were also significantly higher in 2010 compared to 2009. In 2009, there were 445,718 combined embarking and transit passengers and 181 ship calls. These numbers jumped to 582,979 combined embarking and transit passengers and 241 ship calls in 2010. NYCEDC currently projects this upward trend to continue in 2011 with an expected 264 ship calls and 645,449 passengers.

Another important finding of the study was that the majority of New York City cruise passengers reside outside the tri-state area. The 2010 study showed only 21% of cruise passengers living in the tri-state area, with 63% coming from other states and 16% from foreign countries. In 2009, 35% of cruise passengers resided in the tri-state area.