CLIA’s president and CEO, Kelly Craighead was quick to praise travel advisors in her opening remarks at CLIA’s annual North America Cruise360 Conference at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood Florida.
Craighead highlighted the important role that advisors have played in helping the cruise industry resume operations in the United States and she called on the agency community to remain actively engaged in order to address misperceptions and promote the proactive measures that cruise lines are taking to protect public health as sailing resumes.
Cruise360 was taking place this week, 501 days following the cruise industry’s voluntary suspension of global operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and marked the first official, in-person cruise industry event in North America since 2019.
Pointing to CLIA’s ‘Ready, Set, Sail’ initiative that engaged the wider cruise community, many of whom are travel advisors, to call on Congress and the White House to issue the instructions needed to comply with the Conditional Sail Order that is in place until November 1, Craighead said: “With industry leading protocols in place guiding the resumption of operations in Europe and Asia, and with the growing availability of vaccines, it was you and your voices that successfully made the case for cruise resumption in the United States.”
She also noted that CLIA has met its stated goal of working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support the responsible resumption of cruise operations in the United States by July, Craighead went on to recognize that obstacles remain and called on travel advisors to continue to use their voices as advocates for the industry.
Said CLIA’s boss: “The industry’s reputation has been challenged like never before. We must do a better job correcting the record and telling the positive story of cruise, including our investments in environmental sustainability which totaled $23.5 billion last year.”
And Craighead continued: “We’ve seen the power of our collective voice. Let’s build on this momentum, using facts to dispel myths and helping others better understand the positive contributions of the cruise industry around the world.”
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises and CLIA Global Chairman, joined Craighead in delivering virtual remarks at Cruise360’s opening session.
In his remarks, Vago observed: “I have been so impressed by how we have all worked more closely together during this crisis: Cruise lines, city mayors, port authorities, cruise terminal operators, ship agents, and tourism authorities as well as many of you here today.”
And he added: “When we band together and use the collective strength of our voices, we can generate positive change.”
Sail on over to www.cruising.org for more.