1. ITV Report

Cruise boom for region's ports

Southampton is enjoying a cruising boom Photo: Meridian

Archive pictures showing the three Queens visiting Southampton.

Figures just published show a record 1.5 million people used the port ofSouthampton last year for cruise holidays, a rise of 11%.Portsmouth and Dover was also popular for passengers and cruise ships.It brought in almost half a billion pounds to the local economy according tothe European Cruise Council (ECC) who represent the leading cruisecompanies.But it has been revealed the Costa Concordia disaster slowed down bookingsand there are concerns over the economic and political situation in Europe.

David Dingle, member of the ECC executive and CEO of Southampton basedCarnival UK, said: “Despite these challenging times the cruise industry ismaking an increasingly significant contribution to the British economy andthat of mainland Europe by creating jobs and acting as a catalyst fortourism.”

Today's report says the strong growth of the British cruise industrycontinued in 2011 despite the global economic slowdown.It generated direct expenditure of £2.28 billion last year in the UK, up10.2 per cent on 2010. The European total was £12.1 billion, up 3.3 percent, with the UK spend second only to Italy and UK growth only behindFrance.