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Helen Hutcheon
CLIA Australasia gm Brett Jardine (left) with keynote speaker Andy Stuart

CLIA global chairman salutes travel agents

Travel agents are key influencers, with 80% of cruisers using an agent to plan and book cruise vacations, CLIA global chairman Adam Goldstein told the 500 delegates at CLIA Australasia’s second annual cruise3sixty at The Star Event Centre in Sydney today.

Goldstein, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. president and coo, was making the opening ‘state of the industry’ address.

He said CLIA, which has 50,000 travel agent members, 62 cruise line members and 275 executive partners, is now one unified global voice.

He said 2015 will see a total of 23m global ocean cruise passengers, with Australia to announce its one millionth passenger this year.

Goldstein said destinations are the major consideration for people buyng a cruise and that there are 1,000 destinations for cruise ships worldwide.

Keynote speaker Andy Stuart, evp of Norwegian Cruise Line and a former chairman of CLIA’s UK regional office, agreed with Goldstein, saying that the travel agent is more important than ever.

Stuart said a customer looking for a cruise online by him/herself will invariably find it is too hard and will give up.

Panel sessions covered the sustainable growth of domestic cruising, growing Australasia as a sustainable source market, retail success and cruise marketing and included Mark Kammerer, vp international sales for Holland America Line and Seabourn; Francis Riley, svp international for Norwegian Cruise Line; Braydon Holland, vp sales for Star Cruises; Cyril Bricaud, international director sales and marketing for Hurtigruten; and Julie Rose, vp international sales Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Industry leaders, including Silversea’s president Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific, Steve Odell, and Aqua Expeditions ceo and founder, Francesco Galli Zugaro, wrapped up the conference with a ‘View from the Bridge.’

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