River cruise passengers from UK up 21% in 2017

While the ocean cruise sector continues to grow and offer an increasingly wider range of options for holidaymakers, it can be easy to overlook the performance of the river cruise industry. These smaller boats offer a calmer and more refined cruising experience, offering a chance to travel to destinations located further inland and enjoy hands-on encounters with a range of cultures. The food is all of the highest quality, while the staterooms and lounges are luxuriously decorated.

More and more British holidaymakers are beginning to realise the appeal of embarking on a river cruise for the first time. This interest is clear to see, with a recorded 21% increase in the number of Britons embarking on a river cruise according to year-on-year statistics recorded by CLIA UK & Ireland. The figures and statistics, which are released annually by CLIA, show that a total of 210,400 passengers embarked on a river cruise in 2017. This is up from 174,400 in 2016 and 129,700 in 2012 and marks the first time river cruise passengers has surpassed 200,000.

Although the figure is much higher within the ocean cruise industry, with 1,959,000 Britons having embarked on a sailing for the first time, there are indications that the river sector will continue to expand to meet the increasing demand. CLIA UK & Ireland director, Andy Hamer, said: “About 10 years ago Clia did not have any river cruise members.” He added: “River cruises bring different experiences to those that you get on ocean ships. There has been huge amount of investment on new ships, ports of call in both ocean and river.”

CLIA UK & Ireland deputy chairman, Giles Hawke, said: “What has driven this growth? The money has been put into new ships that have come into the market. Eleven new ships came into the market in 2017, ten ships are set to launch this year and eight vessels have already been slated for delivery next year. It is not just one river cruise line driving this growth,” Hawke said. “All river cruise lines are contributing.” Hawke also revealed that there had been a 27% rise in the number of Britons embarking on sailings in India, while the Nile saw a 14% increase compared to 2016.


Year-on-year, the cruise industry continues to grow, with new products being introduced as interest continues to increase. GoCruise offers a unique chance to become a part of this exciting industry, with the opportunity to own and operate your own franchise business. As part of the Fred. Olsen Travel business, we will provide you with all the necessary training and support to ensure you enjoy earning competitive rates of commission.

For more information, contact our friendly team via the freephone number above or complete the online application form.

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