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Exclusive: CLIA to demand more support on sustainability from next UK govt

Andy Harmer, CLIA, Cruise Summit 2024
photo_camera Andy Harmer spoke during the 2024 Cruise Summit in London

CLIA will demand more support from the next UK government to help the sector operate more sustainably

While speaking at Cruise Trade News’ Cruise Summit, held yesterday (17 June) at the News UK offices, Andy Harmer, managing director of CLIA UK, told the audience that sustainability efforts need accelerating, with the party that wins the General Election on 4 July needing to play a central role.

He pointed to access to alternative fuels and infrastructure and to on-shore power as two key areas that the UK needs to focus on.

“Whatever colour the next UK government will be, we are asking them to accelerate the availability of alternative fuels,” he told delegates.

“We are asking for support for port infrastructure because we need the right fuels in the right places. We need to be able to plug in. It’s happening in Europe quite quickly, but not in the UK.”

Harmer said the cruise sector is “rapidly embracing” new technologies to enable its global fleet to operate in a more environmentally friendly way, with 34 ships due to be powered by LNG fuel in the near future.

Meanwhile, research from the trade body shows 76 per cent of customers are either more aware or much more aware of environmental issues.

“It’s becoming an important factor in people’s decision making process when it comes to deciding what they want from their cruise holiday,” he continued.

Exclusive research among 1,200 cruise professionals and consumers carried out by Cruise Trade News found that while customers are saying sustainability is more important, agents are yet to see it impact their clients’ decision making.

Jack Carter, editor of Cruise Trade News, said: “Maybe cruisers are happy to say they are making more responsible decisions but when it comes to making that buying decision, they are a bit more concerned about having to compromise on things like price and destination.”

‘We are clearly not doing enough,’ TravelTek boss warns

Cressida Sergeant, chief commercial officer of Traveltek, joined Harmer and Carter on stage at the Cruise Summit to report findings from its own research, saying that 50 per cent of agents do not believe lines’ sustainability credential drive bookings.

She said the key challenge for operators is ensuring they communicate better on what they are doing in areas like plastic use reduction, recycling and port shore power connectivity.

“We are clearly not doing enough,” she said. “We need cruise lines to enhance their communications. Pull out their manifestos and make them more actionable for clients.”

Traveltek is working on technology to highlight more environmentally friendly itineraries but she called on all industry stakeholders to work together “to do a better job” to educate agents and the public.

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