A former US government official will take over as CLIA president and CEO.

Kelly Craighead, a former deputy assistant secretary for travel and tourism in the U.S. Department of Commerce, will start her new position in January.

As the first executive director of the National Travel & Tourism Office, she led initiatives that generated over $250 billion annually from international visitors to the US, while also representing the country internationally.

Craighead will be taking over from Cindy D’Aoust, who in July announced her intent to leave her position by the end of the year.

“Demand for cruising is exhibiting strong growth, making the cruise industry a critical partner to localities, regions and nations around the world,” said Craighead.

“I am excited to be joining such a strong and well-respected organisation at an important time for the industry. I look forward to listening, learning, and better understanding the needs of our members and building on the strong foundation and success of the current team, in order to most effectively lead CLIA in the years ahead.”

Global CLIA chairman and president & CEO of Carnival Corporation & PLC, Arnold Donald said: “I am extremely pleased that Kelly will be joining CLIA to support the global cruise industry during this golden age of cruising.

“Her extensive experience in the hospitality and travel industries, combined with her leadership skills and passion for results, are second to none. This is an exciting time for our industry, steeped in opportunity, and I look forward to working with Kelly in the years to come.”