CLIA UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer on the return of the cruise sector

CLIA UK & I director Andy Harmer: ‘The great cruise revival starts now’

CLIA UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer tells Cruise Trade News that the cruise sector has weathered the storm and is now firmly on the road to recovery.

For all of us who have missed our cruise fix for the past year, this summer marks a positive departure.

With at least a dozen cruise lines set to take to UK waters, it’s encouraging to see we are making such a significant contribution to the industry’s revival.

We have always advocated a phased resumption, beginning with domestic sailings, and it’s rewarding to see this will take place from next month.

What better way to get the nation on board again than by offering such a diverse choice of cruise lines and ships, including a number welcoming guests for the first time, such as MSC Virtuosa, P&O Cruises’ Iona, and Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady.

We can proudly lay claim to the fact that cruise still offers something for everyone and this year it’s all on our doorstep.

Cruise has weathered the storm 

Of course the eyes of the world have been on cruise ever since the start of the pandemic. It is clear that the response from everyone across the industry has been the responsible one, with a focus on prioritising the health and wellbeing of our guests, crew and the communities we visit.

We have worked hard to develop enhanced protocols in cooperation with government, health authorities and ports. As a result, the entire cruise experience will be redefined, while preserving what makes a cruise holiday absolutely unique.

The encouraging news is that the protocols have already worked well in other markets since last summer. Across mainland Europe they have helped protect around 400,000 guests, as well as crew and the communities visited, so we can all be assured that everyone sailing on a UK cruise will be the beneficiary of this approach. 

The industry can now play its part in the national economic recovery. The domestic cruise surge is a great boost to the 88,000 people who are employed in our sector.

In addition, thousands of suppliers, many of whom are small and family run, rely on cruise for their business, such as hotels, local transport operators and taxi firms.

The cruise industry has weathered the greatest challenge it has ever faced. The recovery starts here and it’s something we can all get behind and also feel very proud of.

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