Week in Review: Agencies Make Big Moves, Industry Awards Bestowed

Upwards of 137 million Americans are set to travel this weekend, as many will have a three-day weekend in observance of Labor Day. According to The Vacationer, 53 percent of Americans are heading to hit the roads or the skies, with the majority of them opting for the former.

Tip: If you’re considering a last-minute road trip, U.K.-based Motorcycle Insurance found that four out of 10 of the top ranked road trips around the world are located in the U.S., with Big Sur claiming the top spot. Others to make the list included Ocean Drive, Badlands National Park and the Columbia River Gorge.

Separately, Future Market Insights released a report detailing the potential increase in global adventure travel over the next decade, led by strong traveler desire for exploring newer places and the demand for an authentic and individualized travel experience. Travel advisors have a huge opportunity to take advantage of what Future Market Insights expects to be a nearly $1.5 billion travel segment by 2032.

New Cruise Ships Hit the Water

For those who would rather forgo both the roads and the skies for the seas, there’s always plenty going on in the cruise world.

Over the weekend, global superstar Katy Perry, godmother of the new Norwegian Prima, christened the 3,100-passenger ship in Reykjavik, Iceland. The first of six new Prima-class vessels for Norwegian Cruise Line, the ship is home to Penrose Atrium, the brand’s first three-level atrium, and Ocean Boulevard, a 44,000-square-foot outdoor walkway that wraps around the entire ship. In addition, the ship has expansive pool decks and infinity-style pools at Infinity Beach, plus The Rush and The Drop, both steep slides. Prima Speedway is a three-level go-kart racetrack.

Also this week, American Cruise Lines' new 175-passenger American Symphony was christened in Natchez, MS. Delivered on time, the new vessel is the fifth modern riverboat for the U.S. brand in four years. A fifth deck skywalk that cantilevers over the fourth deck cafe below is a highlight. Guests will also discover lounges inside and out, a grand dining room, fitness center and wellness-yoga studio.

Looking forward, Carnival’s new Carnival Luminosa—formerly a member of Costa Cruises’ fleet—will set sail from Brisbane on November 6 before repositioning for seasonal service from Seattle to Alaska next May. Also on tap later this year will be a myriad of “Culinary Cruises” hosted by Holland America Line. Each journey will highlight a member from the line’s Culinary Council of celebrity chefs, who will share their expertise and secrets with guests. Guests can attend cooking demonstrations led by the chefs and enjoy an exclusive dinner at Pinnacle Grill, Rudi’s Sel de Mer or Nami Sushi.

Agencies Make Big Moves

On the agency side, Ensemble Travel Group will hold its first member meeting since being acquired by Navigatr group in June. Named “Horizons,” the meeting at Eden Roc and Nobu Miami Beach from October 20-23 will focus on the future for the consortium and its members. Attendees will learn about new proprietary tools, partake in networking events and hear from a keynote who shares her lessons learned in founding and scaling a company to over $200 million in sales.

Elsewhere, Cruise Planners announced that it will end its affiliation with American ExpressTravel Representative program (to which it has belonged for the last 18 years) and will join Signature Travel Network beginning September 29, 2022. The agency, which comprises 2,500 home-based advisors, plans to leverage the travel network’s technology, marketing and training programs.

Industry Awards

Two major trade organizations—Virtuoso and the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA)—recently hosted their yearly conferences. At the conclusion of each, they announced winners for several awards.

At Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, the luxury travel network shared the winners of its “Best Cruise Lines” awards at a “Cruise Night Out” event. Later in the week, at its closing night gala, Virtuoso announced the winners of its “Best of the Best” awards for supplier partners, as well as the advisor and agency award winners.  

In San Francisco, ASTA at its Advocacy Dinner bestowed the ASTA Lifetime Achievement Award on Arnold Donald, longtime Carnival Corporation CEO, who recently transitioned to vice chair of the board. Additional awards, including those for ambassadorships, advocacy, and chapter recognition, were also handed out.

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