Robust, resilient, stronger. Those words summed up the general feeling and outlook at the CLIA Conference 2022, held in Southampton at the end of May.
With 550 delegates in attendance, cruise industry bosses sought to reiterate and reassure travel agents that the future is bright – and hey have a key part to play in the industry’s success. As Royal Caribbean International VP EMEA and CLIA UK & Ireland chair Ben Bouldin explained, 2023 is on course to be a bigger and better year than 2019, when cruise was booming pre-pandemic.
Opportunity, therefore, is knocking, and the industry is sending a clear message: travel agents are more important than ever. Take, for example P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow’s words: “Agents are still – and will be for a long time, if not ever – the major source of business for our brand.” Read more about the event in our coverage in The Briefing.
Elsewhere in this issue, we examine the changing relationship between cruise lines and destinations, with new ways of working and greater collaboration the order of the day, not least to combat fears regarding overtourism.
We also take a look at the bold plans to make Qatar a major cruise hub and speak to A-Rosa River Cruises UK & Ireland MD Lucia Rowe about the line’s next chapter, which, as she describes, is rooted in its pioneering spirit.
On a personal note, i recently had the pleasure of sailing to the Norwegian Fjords on Princess Cruises’ Royal-class ship sky princess for a very special occasion. With my medallion in hand and memorable ports of call throughout the itinerary, this made for a unique experience, which you can discover inside.