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Will cruise lines become the fastest collapsing industry ever?

Most declining industries collapse in slow motion, others do it fast. Office supply stores, telegramming and video rental took a few decades to marginalise only to live on as niche services. Google outcompeted the Yellow Pages in roughly a decade while digitisation shook up the film-based market in just a few years. In current times there is always a superlative. The Economist foresees hard times for the global cruise-ship business. Around 6,000 passengers are currently confined to their cabins with hundreds of the passengers and staff having flu-like symptoms, many tested positive while six have died up till now.

After years of steady growth (>50% since 2010), the Corona-virus may hit the industry like a sledgehammer. With dozens of outbreaks in the past decade (often caused by the nasty norovirus), it is not uncommon that many passengers are ill. But never at this scale were so many sick, let alone dying, and, on top of that, trapped at sea. With elderly as the cruise lines’ main customer group also being the most vulnerable, many of them will want to avoid these ‘disease prisons’ and, instead, choose a land-based holiday destination. It will definitely increase their chances of flying back as soon as they want.

Photo by Susann Mielke from Pixabay


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