IN THE NEWS
‘The India market for luxury is keen on Mediterranean and Alaska voyages’ Edie Rodriguez, president & CEO, Crystal Cruises highlights the immense potential of the luxury cruise tourism segment in the India market. By Sudipta Dev What is your perception of the India market in terms of growth potential for luxury cruise tourism (leisure/ MICE)? There is only upside potential for the India market for increased luxury cruise sales both for leisure and MICE. There is great opportunity to encourage guests to upgrade from the premium experience to luxury as Crystal finds that 80 per cent of new to Crystal guests have either never done a cruise before, or are ‘moving up’ from a premium experience. Crystal offers several choices for MICE groups with our fleet of midsize and small vessels, including the 62 guest luxury
yacht Crystal Esprit, our 154 berth Crystal Mozart river yacht and sailing the seven seas Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, carrying 922 and 1070 guests respectively. What has been the brand strategy for Crystal in India? Our focus includes the pillars of our 25 plus years of being the world’s best with the position of offering service, space, quality and choices. As the world’s most luxurious hospitality and lifestyle brand portfolio, Crystal combines personalised service with world class travel experiences that can take you all over the globe by land, sea, and air.
Which interesting new destinations and experiences are you looking to promote in India ? The India market for luxury is keen on Mediterranean and Alaska voyages. Now through October 2017, Crystal Esprit will sail 7- and 14-day itineraries through the Mediterranean before transitioning to her new route through the West Indies. Crystal Symphony will also sail the Mediterranean, on a 14-day sailing this October, while Crystal Serenity will sail the region multiple times in 2018. Crystal Serenity spends her summers in Alaska, sailing 7-10 day itineraries.
What has been the focus of your engagement with the Indian travel trade ? We recently hosted a number of agent training seminars and continue to educate travel partners of the exceptional value of Crystal. With the Indian government looking at developing India as a cruising destination, are you considering bringing any of your ships here ? We have port calls scheduled in India for Mangalore and Mumbai in 2018, and our ships are always chasing the sun around the globe so we have no plans to homeport. Our guest base is curious to explore all re-
gions of the world and try new destinations from the luxury of a Crystal vessel.
CLIAlaunches cruise accreditation programme for Indian travel agents Sudipta Dev Mumbai The second edition of India Cruise Forum organised by Singapore Tourism Board (STB) saw an important new development with the launch of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) accreditation programme for Indian travel agents. India is in fact the very first Asian country where the CLIA accreditation programme is being introduced. “The programme is very comprehensive and has been developed in the last five years. It is primarily online with some events, about 200 videos, 250 links to port terminals across the world and dif-
ferent destinations,” said Peter Kollar, head of International Training and Development, CLIA. Highlighting that India is the fourth largest market for Singapore with 8 per cent growth, G B Srithar, regional director for South Asia, Middle
East & Africa, STB stated that Indian visitor arrivals by sea was more than 100,000 – an increase of 29 per cent over the previous year. “2016 saw a more vibrant cruise scenario, with multi generation and young families showing highest affinity for cruising,” he men-
tioned. Srithar also moderated a panel discussion on growing India's cruise travel market – challenges and opportunities. The panel members were Nalini Gupta, managing director, Lotus Destinations (GSA of Costa Cruise India); Naresh Rawal, VP sales, Genting
Cruise Lines – Star Cruises, Dream Cruises and Crystal Cruises; Suzanne Perreira, senior VP sales, trade relationships and communications, Thomas Cook India; Anita Raja, regional manager – South India, TIRUN Travel Marketing and Harshali Darpel, senior manager – Western India, Cruise Professionals. Annie Chang, director, Cruise, STB, highlighted how STB is providing support and resources to travel agents to help them sell better – from support marketing and cruise development activities though Cruise Deevelopment Fund to updation of information, support to travel agent FAMs and cruise training for them.
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