cruise3sixty conference sails to success

Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) 8th annual cruise3sixty conference and trade show, April 25-30 at the Broward Country Convention Center in Florida, proved to be a big success, registering more than 1,200 travel agent delegates from seven Canadian provinces, 42 US states and 13 other countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Australia. A record-breaking 3,144 participants attended the 18 CLIA professional development and training seminars, up from 1,365 when cruise3sixty was first established. The focus of the conference was the future of travel agents as CLIA, with support of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), issued a report entitled “From Travel Agent to Travel Advisor: Defining, Elevating and Promoting the Role of Travel Agents for the Next Generation.”CLIA’s President and CEO, Christine Duffy, and Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), also rallied delegates in support of USTA’s nationwide “Vote Travel – Get America Moving”grassroots campaign to call attention to the economic importance of the travel industry. In announcing the “Next Generation of Travel Agents”report, Duffy said, “Our aim is to begin a meaningful, industry-wide discussion that articulates the unique role agents play in today’s travel industry and considers the steps necessary to develop a strategic roadmap for developing the next generation of agents.”ASTA’s CEO, Tony Gonchar, added, “This report is an excellent first step to help begin a dialogue with the travel industry to ensure the future growth of the travel agency community. ASTA is a strong believer in ensuring that we have a thriving retail travel industry and has worked closely with CLIA in the creation of this report, as well as with the White House to develop initiatives such as the Joining Forces Travel Industry Coalition, which has a goal of bringing 3,000 industry jobs to US vets and their spouses by 2014.”In addition to CLIA training and seminars, conference attendees participated in the inspections of more than a dozen cruise ships in nearby ports, and visited the 300 plus exhibitor trade show. Other highlights of cruise3sixty included destination and travel industry supplier workshops and several panel discussions featuring cruise line executives and other experts on ways to build niche or special interest cruise business, develop group sales, create effective marketing strategies and other topics. (

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