The European Cruise Council has released the region’s latest figures, showing continued huge growth in cruising.

According to the ECC, passenger numbers were up 9% to 3.4 million, with the total economic impact of the cruise industry rated at some 10.6billion euros.

Costa Cruises remains the No 1 cruise line in Europe, with 1.1 million passengers in 2007. There was also a rise in the number of people employed in the cruise industry in Europe, with approximately 225,000 jobs in 2006, 20% more than the year before.

Cruising remains a major source of inbound tourism for Europe. Between 1995 and 2006, demand for cruising worldwide increased from 5.7 million to 15.15 million passengers. Over the same period, the number of Europeans taking cruises around the world more than trebled from one million to 3.4 million.