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Drawing on the latest international market research and examples from her own daughters, Ellen explained how Generation Z consumers were reinventing travel by seeking a more individualized and connected experience when they cruise. She also encouraged the audience to think about what this meant for the travel agent community and provided insight into how the cruise sector had been among pioneers catering to younger consumers. Another key topic at the conference this year was the worldwide revolution underway in shore excursions, as cruise passengers increasingly look for experience-led options and demand more immersive and authentic shore excursions. A panel discussion tackled the topic of “Reimagining Shorex” and provided insight into how cruise lines are evolving their excursion offering, and what it means for travel agents as they cater to their clients’ tastes and passions. Among the panelists was Michael Mihajlov, Destination Director for Carnival Australia, who has been responsible for opening up new cruise destinations in the South Pacific and engaging with communities to create new experiences in remote locations like Papua New Guinea. He was joined by expedition cruise specialist Aaron Russ, who spent his childhood travelling on small ships to the Subantarctic Islands, giving him a lifetime of experience. As the General Manager of Wild Earth Travel, Russ has led more than 100 small ship expeditions to some of the world’s most fascinating destinations. Other panelists included APT Travel Group Chief Commercial Officer Debra

“THE WATER UNDER US, THE AIR ABOVE US, THE DESTINATIONS AROUND US, THE EMPLOYEES AND PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR US AND WITH US—THESE ARE HUGE FOCUS ITEMS TODAY…” —ADAM GOLDSTEIN, CLIA GLOBAL CHAIR & VICE CHAIRMAN OF ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Fox and ID Tours New Zealand Executive Director Debbie Summers. Cruise360 Australasia was preceded by a dedicated Executive Partner Product and Destination Showcase on the day prior, designed to present new ways for travel agents to enhance their clients’ cruise holidays. The initiative allows agent members to find out more about the additional products and services that can be offered with a cruise – vacation experienc-

“…WE COULD TELL FROM THE ENTHUSIASM IN THE ROOM THAT AGENTS ARE VERY OPTIMISTIC…” —JOEL KATZ, CLIA AUSTRALASIA MANAGING DIRECTOR

es that combine perfectly with cruise bookings and can help agents increase the value and appeal of their cruise service. Also held that day was an exclusive ship inspection aboard Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess, giving agents from across Australia and New Zealand a chance to learn more about the line’s regional deployment and experience its product first-hand. Other events held around Cruise360 Australasia included the conference’s associated trade show, where travel agents could connect one-on-one with CLIA member cruise lines and executive partners. CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz said the conference had again been a sell-out success, reflecting increasing levels of engagement within the travel industry in Australia and New Zealand. “There’s a very clear appetite for new insight among cruise specialists, and I think the members we see at Cruise360 are those who want to think strategically about how they are going to seize new opportunities developing within the industry,” he said. “A lot of discussion in the travel industry right now revolves around how travel agents can provide a level of service and expertise that sets them apart from disruptive competitors, and many are seeking additional insight into how cruise is evolving in order to give themselves an edge. I think educational opportunities like Cruise360 are a very important part of a travel agent’s future success, and we could tell from the enthusiasm in the room that agents are very optimistic about cruise and are hungry to know more.”

FOURTH QUARTER 2019 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 25

Profile for Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association

Travel & Cruise 4th Quarter 2019  

4th quarter edition of Travel & Cruise Magazine. Published quarterly, Travel & Cruise is the official magazine of the FCCA, CLIA and the cru...

Travel & Cruise 4th Quarter 2019  

4th quarter edition of Travel & Cruise Magazine. Published quarterly, Travel & Cruise is the official magazine of the FCCA, CLIA and the cru...

Profile for fcca