CLIA and ICCL To Merge

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the cruise industry's marketing and trade training organization, and the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL), its lobbying and maritime operational arm, will merge by the end of this year. The new combined trade group will retain the CLIA name and will be headed by Terry Dale, CLIA's current president and CEO, according to CLIA Chairman Andy Stuart, NCL Corporation's executive vice president of sales, marketing and passenger services, and ICCL's Chairman Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. When asked if Michael Crye, currently president of ICCL and known to some agents for his lobbying skills and government contacts, will stay on in some capacity with the new group, Fain said "yes," noting that the goal is to retain as many current staffers from both groups as possible. CLIA, which has 17,000 member travel agents, is now based in New York City and ICCL in the Washington D.C. area, but the merged organization will move to Miami later this year. The executive committees of both organizations approved the merger in principle, and now specific merger details are being worked out. Stuart said the new, single, full-service CLIA would be able to speak with one voice to agents, consumers, regulators and legislators, providing more consistent information. Dale stressed that CLIA's programs and training would likely be broadened to reflect the organization's new larger mission; so in addition to existing sales and marketing training topics, agents will likely hear more about such operational issues as health, security and safety. Michelle Fee, CEO of Cruise Planners, and a member of CLIA's Travel Agency Advisory Board, told Travel Agent that she is thrilled about the change and having a "voice" on lobbying and other such issues.