The Voice of the Cruise Industry

The CTN Take: Why cruise needs a seat at the table with new govt

The CTN Take cruise

The cruise industry should welcome a Labour majority, says Cruise Trade News deputy editor Will Payne, with a change in government presenting a chance for the sector to cement impactful relationships with new policymakers

While Brits have spent the last six weeks mulling over what will surely be one of the most important political decisions since the 2016 European referendum, I’ve found myself becoming more and more fatigued while trying to keep my finger on the pulse by headlines littered with terms like “general election”, “vote” and “Farage”.

But despite the barrage of campaign buzzwords and hubris from certain party leaders, the outcome of the election this Thursday (4 July) will be critical to the future of the cruise and wider travel industry and should be monitored closely.

The Tories say they will “back our maritime sector”, which includes shipping industries and ports. Labour, meanwhile, intends to bring forward an ambitious strategy to drive economic growth and deliver clean energy by 2030, focused on partnering with industry to stimulate growth through a £7.3bn National Wealth Fund – this will be important as cruise continues its path to decarbonisation.

The National Wealth Fund would see £2.5bn invested in the steel industry; £1.8bn on upgrading ports and building their UK supply chains; £1.5bn on battery production; £1bn in carbon capture; and £500m in manufacturing green hydrogen.

Whatever the outcome, there will be myriad impacts on cruise, both positive and negative. CLIA UK and Ireland managing director Andy Harmer highlighted one challenge brought by a new government. Whoever wins, there will be a reshuffle of personnel across the cabinet and government offices, forcing the trade body to restart conversations with ministers.

Navigating the carousel of officials has been a constant challenge for CLIA, compounded by the fact we’ve had four prime ministers and six chancellors in eight years. That’s the same number of leaders from the prior 26 years.

However, the country is now (hopefully) set for a period of political stability as the public would have democratically picked a leader for the first time since 2019, a time when the word “pandemic” didn’t conjure memories of queues outside Sainsbury’s and white tents popping up on the village green.

Cruise must have seat at the table to enact real change

There will, of course, be many upsets with the outcome of today’s election, as is the nature of a first past the post system of voting. But the beauty of democracy is having multiple people with different ideologies working to – supposedly – make the country a better place.

Having an elected office would give CLIA, other travel industry bodies and lobbying groups the opportunity to build lasting relationships with ministers, from both sides, to help champion real change in the industry.

During this year’s Cruise Summit by Cruise Trade News, Harmer outlined CLIA’s priorities for the next government, saying:

It is imperative the next UK government gives cruise a seat at the table so the industry can enact positive change in sustainability, technology and recruitment

One of the things Harmer advocated for was the acceleration of alternative fuels and support for port infrastructure, more information on the implementation of ETA and ETIAS, the forging of a partnership on tourism strategy and better engagement on how to build green skills for the future.

These goals will take time to implement, but it is imperative the next UK government gives cruise a seat at the table so the industry can enact positive change in sustainability, technology and recruitment and ensure it continues its remarkable revival from the pandemic.

Will Payne is deputy editor of Cruise Trade News and World of Cruising

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