In 2017, the river cruise business generated over half a million passenger visits for the ACP region. This provided revenue of more than EUR 206 million and added value of more than EUR 87 million. The sector accounts for 1,690 jobs in the ACP region. This was revealed by the analysis carried out by the research firm Decisio for Amsterdam Cruise Port (ACP).
The ACP region comprises Amsterdam and the towns of Alkmaar, Den Helder, Enkhuizen, Haarlem, Hoorn, Huizen, Lelystad, Medemblik and Zaanstad. Decisio’s research focused on quantifying the economic impact of river cruises on the ACP region. Janine van Oosten, chair of ACP, concludes: “I am pleased that our assumptions have now been substantiated and that the river cruise business has proved to be a significant economic factor for the ACP region. It is gratifying to see that the sector actually creates job opportunities, including, in particular, jobs for people with average or lower-level qualifications.”
In the past few months, the research firm carried out a survey among 1,197 passengers, divided across 34 vessels in Amsterdam, Hoorn and Lelystad. The economic impact was found to be driven by two main elements. The most clearly recognisable effects consist in spending by passengers themselves. They spent over EUR 106 million on tourist attractions, shopping, hotels, restaurants and cafes and transport. Less immediately evident, but clearly important economically, is the operational expenditure of river cruise companies on matters such as harbour dues, ship-to-shore power and fuel, totalling over EUR 45 million.
Spending by passengers and river cruise companies provides revenue and production for businesses in the hotel, restaurant and cafe sector, culture, transport and retail business. Those sectors, in turn, need suppliers from the industry, agriculture and rental sectors. These indirect economic effects of river cruises amount to EUR 55 million. Including this spending in the calculations produces a more complete understanding of the sector’s total added value.
In order to provide a detailed overview, account was taken in the research of passengers’ country of origin (intercontinental, European or national), type of call (transit/turnaround) and the top-end segment. It was found that intercontinental passenger spending is by far the highest, followed at a long distance by European passengers, while Dutch passengers’ spending is lowest.
The longest stays in Amsterdam are recorded for intercontinental passengers, who also tend to use hotel accommodation in this city before or after a river cruise. These visitors come mainly from America, Canada and Australia. European visitors are predominantly from Germany, the UK and France. The research also found that the average age of these visitors is 55 or older, that they have large disposable incomes and are especially enamoured with the iconic and cultural attractions that the ACP region has to offer.
The results of this research do not represent an isolated case. The research methodology was based on research into the economic impact of river cruise companies in the Danube region, which was carried out in 2016. The results for the ACP region are comparable to those for the Danube region. The conclusion is justified that river cruise ships and their passengers connect cities and regions. In addition, the economic impact goes much further than just the port of call. “On the basis of these insights, which have now been substantiated, we are especially motivated to retain these top-end visitors for the ACP region”, commented Janine van Oosten.
Cees Loggen, whose responsibilities as deputy of the Province of North Holland include water recreation, is pleased with the results of the research: “It is valuable to have a proper understanding of the favourable effects of the river cruise business. This can be of use to many parties in plans for spreading the large numbers of tourists who visit Amsterdam and other beautiful towns in North Holland.”
Photo: Gwendelyn Luijk