Duffy and Wall Discuss CLIA’s New Executive Post

Attendees of cruise3sixty in Sydney will get to see Dwain Wall, CLIA’s new SVP of agency and trade relations, in action.
Attendees of cruise3sixty in Sydney will get to see Dwain Wall, CLIA’s new SVP of agency and trade relations, in action.

Earlier this month, Dwain Wall took the helm of the newly created post of senior vice president of agency and trade relations for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Wall most recently served as senior vice president and general manager of World Travel Holdings’ home-based division, comprising the CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. brands.

Is Wall a good fit? From one trade perspective, “Dwain will be a wonderful addition to CLIA’s executive ranks,” says Amber Blecker, who worked with Wall as owner, Cruise-One, Aurora, CO. She said Wall’s extensive knowledge of all aspects of the trade, including retail, franchise and home-based operations, gives him a unique understanding of the trade and agency relationships.

Brian O’Connor, vice president of sales, Princess Cruises, views Wall as an accomplished and respected professional who understands the needs and challenges of travel agents. “I can’t think of anyone more qualified to deliver results in this role,” he says. “I look forward to collaborating with him.”

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Getting ready to leave for the first ever cruise3sixty conference in Sydney, Australia, Christine Duffy, CLIA’s president and CEO, talked with us one-on-one on the telephone about the appointment of Wall and what he brings to the table.

Duffy says the new position was carved out to better support the North American trade as CLIA’s role with agents continues to evolve, just as the cruise industry itself has evolved over the years. “This really requires a senior executive who is focused on travel agency relations,” she says.

“It’s an ongoing evolution as to how do we really position and work so closely with agencies that CLIA continues to grow and continues [to stay] relevant,” says Duffy, noting that CLIA is the world’s largest travel agency membership organization.

What does Wall himself hope to accomplish? “I can sum it up in one word—advocacy,” Wall tells Travel Agent. “I’ve been a travel agent since 1980, either leading an organization or sitting in front of customers directly. What really intrigued me about this position is the opportunity to take the good work that CLIA has been doing for many years and take it to a new level in support of the travel agencies…and finding out what agents need to take it to a new place.”

Wall says he’s observed a growing empowerment of the travel agent distribution system over the past few years. “I want to take advantage of that power…to make sure agents have the tools they need to be as successful as they can possibly be,” he says. Agents can expect to see Dwain Wall at cruise3sixty and other travel industry conferences.