Following the cruise3sixty conference and trade show operated by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) North America for the last 10 years, the first ever cruise3sixty Australasia took place on Feb. 7, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. CLIA president & CEO Christine Duffy delivered the opening remarks, applauding Australia’s 500 percent growth in cruise passenger numbers since 2002 and reinforcing CLIA’s promise worldwide to the travel agent community.
Duffy also sent a message to agent attendees on the importance of CLIA training, education and certification and CLIA’s increased promotion of certified agents to the consumer market. “Our studies show that CLIA certified agents feel more confident about their capabilities to be successful and provide the best possible service to their clients with the product knowledge we provide," Duffy said. "CLIA’s goal is to help create consumer awareness of certification as an indicator of these agents as highly qualified professionals.”
The region has been seeing a boost in the cruise industry with a record 750,000 passengers from Australia and New Zealand aboard CLIA’s ships in 2012, representing a double-digit increase from the year before. Expectations are for double-digit growth again this year and for the foreseeable future, according to Duffy. Australasia could surpass North America in the next decade in this metric if it continues along this growth trend.
As the cruise market expands in Australasia, cruise lines are dedicating more ships to the region. Between October 2013 and April 2014, a record 34 ships will cruise Australian waters and make 588 visits to Australian ports.
Australasia’s growth demonstrates cruising’s true global reach. To better serve as the voice and advocate of the worldwide cruise industry, CLIA became a global association last year. Today, 13 cruise industry associations operate under one organizational umbrella. CLIA now has 61 cruise line members, 250 Executive Partners and 13,500 travel agencies representing 50,000 travel agent members in North America, UK & Ireland and Australasia with plans to grow its’ agency members in key cruise markets around the world.
For more information, visit www.cruising.org.