Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Europe has appointed Michael Thamm, the group CEO of the Costa Group and Carnival Asia, as chairman of CLIA Europe, effective January 2019.
Thamm succeeds David Dingle, chairman of Carnival UK, who has served as interim CLIA Europe Chairman since summer 2018.
“Under my leadership, CLIA Europe will strengthen its commitment to a constructive dialogue with our stakeholders to find solutions to the challenges we face and to further develop the cruise industry in Europe," said Thamm in a written statement. "It is our goal to prosper together and create a more sustainable future, while we continue to deliver great vacations at sea and meaningful experiences to our passengers.”
In his new role, Thamm will work with the CLIA Europe general assembly and CLIA teams across the continent to continue to promote the common interests of cruise ship operators in Europe. This will include close liaison with key EU institutions, and a wide range of stakeholders to foster the sustainable growth of the cruise industry in the European market.
Thamm is a veteran in the cruise sector, with over 30 years of industry experience. From 1993, he was a key player in developing the cruise market in Germany, positioning AIDA Cruises as the market leader. He was president of AIDA Cruises from 2004 to 2012, during which time he initiated a new building program that saw the fleet grow by one vessel each year between 2007 and 2013. In 2012, Thamm was appointed group CEO to lead the global business of Costa Group that includes Costa Crociere, AIDA Cruises and Carnival Maritime. In addition to this role, in January 2017 he was named CEO of Carnival Asia to oversee operations in this region.
Members of the CLIA Europe Executive Committee, as confirmed by the General Assembly, are: David Dingle, chairman, Carnival UK; Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman, MSC Cruises; Gavin Smith, senior vice president, international, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises; Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, chairman, Silversea Cruises; and Wybcke Meier, CEO, TUI Cruises.
Europe is the world’s second biggest cruise market, both in terms of source of passengers (7 million) and as a cruise destination (6.5 million passengers embarked). The cruise market contributed almost €48 billion to the European economy in 2017, with 400,000 people employed in cruise and cruise-related businesses.