A Rendering of the Portsmouth Port Terminal

The number of passengers visiting a UK port last year increased by seven per cent to 448,000.

And the number of passengers joining their cruise ship in the UK increased to 733,000.

Both figures represent a near-doubling since 2003.

Kate O’Hara, Chair of CruiseBritain, said: “These figures show the strength of the cruise market for British ports and the potential for the future.

“Cruising has an important economic benefit for every port that welcomes cruise ships.

“In 2008, direct spending by cruise lines and their passengers reached €2,263 million in Britain and underpinned more than 49,000 UK jobs.

“With additional ships coming on stream, cruise lines will continue to look for new areas to sail to and Britain is well-placed to take advantage of the strong cruise trend.”

The news comes at the same time as figures released by the European Cruise Council showed that 4.8 million passengers joined their cruise in Europe in 2009, spending €1.3 billion on services (+7.6% on 2008) and €1.45 billion (+1.7%) while visiting ports.

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