CLIA Defends Card Criteria Claim

In our recent story on bogus agents, we quoted an agent who claimed Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) had no criteria for handing out ID cards to agents. Travel Agent got CLIA’s side of the story on Tuesday when it spoke with Jim Smith, marketing director for CLIA, to clear up this false allegation.

Smith told us that CLIA does in fact have a criteria for distributing certification cards to agents, although it was only implemented less than a year ago. The criteria, which was established in July, calls for two major requirements: the passing of an educational course and continuing involvement in additional courses as well as an average annual sale of at least 25 cabins per agent.

In the past, CLIA has been accused of accepting new members without any tight restrictions. That all changed in 2008, although it came with a price. Smith said there was a sizable dip in ID card participation from 2008 to 2009. But with a struggling market last year, coupled with the new, stricter requirements, Smith said that decrease was obviously anticipated.

“We do everything we can to inform our members from training sessions to marketing to DVDs to whatever you can think of,” Smith said, noting that CLIA conducted roughly 65,000 individual training sessions last year alone. “I’m really not sure what else agents would want us to do (to prove CLIA’s credibility). We are doing everything we can for agents.”

Visit CLIA’s website at www.cruising.org.

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