Agency Leaders Weigh in on CLIA-ICCL Merger

More reaction flowed into Travel Agent from retail heavyweights late Thursday and Friday, following the announcement that Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) would merge by year's end. Kathy Sudeikis, ASTA's president and CEO, said, "the lobbying efforts of ICCL are so completely intertwined with the marketing issues [of CLIA] that it makes a lot of sense." At the Results! Travel annual conference in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, on Friday, Michael Batt, president and CEO, Carlson Leisure Group, also said the merger is good business, and it's advantageous to have a soon-to-be merged CLIA-ICCL looking at important industry issues that impact agencies. Finally, Brad Anderson, co-president, America's Vacation Center, Escondido, CA, said "it's going to be beneficial to have both organizations under one roof; it's a better use of resources and talent, and I don't think it's a bad thing that CLIA will get involved in politics. There is a total disconnect [right now] between what's happening in D.C. and what's happening on the front line [for agencies in selling travel]." Anderson said Terry Dale, CLIA's president and CEO, can bridge that gap, adding that he wasn't implying ICCL was doing a bad job, but CLIA better understands trade needs and "can translate the experience agents have and hopefully turn that into favorable legislation for the industry."

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