The Travel Professional View: Live from CLIA April 7, 2014
The cruise industry really is the happiness industry and the industry of fulfilling dreams The sounds of Pharrell Williams’ hit “Happy” echoed through the halls of the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale on Friday, serving as the perfect anthem for this years’ CLIA cruise3sixty Because, as speaker after speaker demonstrated during the opening general session, there’s a lot to be happy about in the cruise industry. Christine Duffy, President and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association, said the number of cruise passengers has increased 66% since 2005, from 13 million to more than 21 million. This year, the number of passengers is forecast to reach 21.7 million, which is about the population of Australia. That’s a lot of potential customers for your travel business. As the CEOs of four major cruise lines — Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC — pointed out during a panel discussion, travel professionals continue to play a vital role in the health of the cruise industry. Kevin Sheehan, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, summed it up by saying, “Travel agents are the lifeblood of our success and it will never be any different.” The travel professional plays the vital role of matching a customer with the right cruise experience, Carnival CEO Arnold Donald said. With the addition of new ships, new destinations and new activities (both on and off the ship), the CEOs pointed out the time is right to begin to grow the number of people who choose cruising for their
vacations and business meetings, particularly the 95 million plus millennials who largely have not yet discovered cruising. Reaching new customers is not always easy, and that’s why it helps to have the right tools, such as ClientBase and Sabre Cruises. If you’re attending cruise3sixty, stop by our tradeshow booth to see these tools in action. The cruise industry really is the happiness industry and the industry of fulfilling dreams. Gavin MacLeod, the iconic Captain Stubing from the TV series “Love Boat,” shared a story about a conversation he had with an employee of his local dry cleaners right after the show was cancelled in 1986. She told him he needed to get the show put back on the air because it gave her “something to dream about.” “You are helping people realize their dreams,” MacLeod told the 2,000 travel professionals in the audience. “This cruise industry is wonderful for what it does for people.” Keynote speaker and happiness expert Kathleen Passanisi pointed out that only one-third of Americans say they feel happy — that sounds like there’s a lot of people who need to go on a cruise.