PLANS by Southampton-based cruise giant Carnival UK to axe a “large number” of jobs will deal a “very big” blow to the city’s economy.

As revealed by the Daily Echo yesterday, Carnival – which owns the Cunard and P&O Cruises brands – plans a major wave of redundancies and sabbaticals.

It has not revealed how many jobs will go, but company president Josh Weinstein has referred to a “large number”. One source said staff had been told 450 jobs were at risk.

There will be a 20 per cent pay cut in pay and hours until November for staff who survive the cull.

Cruise line giant Carnival plans "large number" of reundancies.

Port operator ABP has often said each stopover by a cruise ship is worth £2million to the local economy.

Pavlos Arvanitis, senior lecturer in tourism and air travel management at Solent University, Southampton, said cruises brought money for shops, hotels, taxi companies and a host of suppliers.

“It’s very, very big,” he said.

“Every cruise liner which comes to Southampton usually carries around 3,000 passengers and if each passenger spends a tenner on a taxi, that’s £30,000 just for taxis in one day.”

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Dr Arvanitis said it was too soon to predict a recovery. “We don’t know when we’re going to have better news,” he added

“Everyone wants tourism to restart but everyone is sceptical about the safety and security of guests.

“We have to ask the question to ourselves, ‘Would we be happy to go on a cruise tomorrow or next month with the data that we have now?’ I’m not sure whether many people would say ‘I’m happy to do that’.

“I’m one of those who are sceptical because on the one hand there’s a massive economic impact and on the other hand there’s the cost of life and I’m afraid that you can’t put a price on any life.

“It’s a very hard ethical dilemma and I think that we have to protect human life first and then economic life.”

Ross McNally, chief executive of Hampshire Chamber, said: “We have come from a position where the cruise industry was at its most buoyant, with Southampton sharing that success.

“We now share the pain caused by the impact of Covid-19. It is a great shame to hear of the redundancy plans at Carnival. We remain a close partner to them and hope they will be back on track next year.

“We are here to offer realistic support so they continue to choose Southampton as their base over the longer term.”