Charting An Ambitious Course


The fact that Australia has seen 500% growth in its cruise passenger numbers since 2002 might give you a clue as to why the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) held its first ever cruise3sixty Australasia conference and trade show in Sydney, Australia earlier this month.

Along with recognizing the growing of cruising in this part of the world, the event also builds on the decade-long success that CLIA has had with its North American cruise3sixty event.

In delivering her opening remarks at the mid-February show, CLIA president & CEO Christine Duffy applauded Australia’s success in developing its cruise business, and she also reinforced CLIA’s promise to the travel agent community around the world.

Said Duffy: “One of our core commitments has always been — and will always be — working with our travel agent partners — the natural ambassadors of our industry.”

She noted that: “As an industry, we recognize the critical role agents play as trusted advisors to our passengers. They communicate the joys of cruising; help customers navigate their limitless travel options; and deliver once-in-a-life-time experiences.”

CLIA’s boss also sent a strong message to agent attendees on the importance of CLIA training, education and certification and CLIA’s increased promotion of certified agents to the consumer market.

“Our studies,” Duffy observed, “show that CLIA certified agents feel more confident about their capabilities to be successful and provide the best possible service to their clients with the product knowledge we provide. CLIA’s goal is to help create consumer awareness of certification as an indicator of these agents as highly qualified professionals.”

Cruise3sixty Australasia featured innovative general sessions with top cruise industry executives, a trade show and educational panels with keynote speakers providing information and tips to help attending member agents grow their businesses.

The region has been seeing an impressive boost in the cruise industry with a record 750,000 passengers from Australia and New Zealand aboard CLIA’s ships in 2012, representing a double-digit increase from the year before.

Expectations are for double-digit growth again this year and for the foreseeable future, suggesting that Australasia could surpass North America in the next decade in this important metric if it continues along this growth trend, Duffy said.

And as the cruise market expands in Australasia, cruise lines are dedicating more ships to the region. Between October 2013 and April 2014, a record 34 ships will cruise Australian waters and make 588 visits to Australian ports.

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IN THE PHOTO: Christine Duffy, president & CEO, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is joined by Ann Sherry, CEO, Carnival Australia and Gavin Smith, managing director, Australia & New Zealand, Royal Caribbean Cruises, to launch the first ever cruise3sixty Australasia conference and exhibition event in Sydney, Australia.