The Atlantic Canada cruise industry provided over $82 million in direct economic impact to the region in 2011 and is also projecting very positive gains for the region in 2012. This comes despite a challenging economic climate and increased competition around the world.

“Our Government supports initiatives undertaken by the Atlantic Canada Cruise Association to ensure our region remains a top tourist destination to an international market,” said the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and La Francophonie. “Economic growth and job creation are our Government’s priorities, and clearly tourism is an important economic driver in Atlantic Canada. Our investments in the cruise industry help support the growth of Atlantic Canada’s tourism sector and its contribution to the strength of our regional economy.”

The direct economic impact the cruise industry provided the region was down slightly from 2010. Weather played a factor causing the cancellation of a number of scheduled calls that would have significantly boosted the numbers for 2011. Over 825,000 passengers and crew visited Atlantic Canada by cruise between April and November.

The ACCA estimates that direct spending by passengers and crew was approximately $42 million. When cruise line spending is included, total economic impact generated in the region was $82.4 million.

“We are seeing the results of our marketing efforts that have been incredibly effective. The number of passengers visiting our region and the associated economic impact continues to have a huge impact on our region’s economy,” said Betty MacMillan, Chair of the ACCA. “Atlantic Canada’s ports are iconic parts of the Canada New England cruise itinerary experience, and remain extremely attractive to passengers and cruise lines alike. The ACCA is projecting consistent growth for the next three years and we are confident that we can continue to increase our numbers even in the midst of these uncertain economic times.”

Looking ahead to 2012, ACCA is forecasting a record year with close to 650,000 passengers expected to visit Atlantic Canada by cruise – up from the current record of 632,613 set in 2010.

ACCA is a partnership between ports, tourism and cruise ship interests in each of the four Atlantic Provinces, ACOA and Parks Canada. The mission of the Association is to lead growth to enhance Atlantic Canada as a cruise destination through strategic marketing. ACCA actively promotes Atlantic Canada as a premiere spring, summer and fall cruise destination.