Week in Review: Big Week for Cruise Updates; Tourism to Set Records in 2024

Travel and tourism’s global economic contribution is set to reach an all-time high of $11.1 trillion in 2024, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2024 Economic Impact Research report. This number will top the previous high by $770 billion. The distribution is also fairly even. The WTTC expects 142 countries of the 185 analyzed to outperform its previous national records. That said, domestic travel is largely driving the increase, as it will surpass its highwater mark, but international travel will only “come within touching distance of the 2019 peak.”

Cruising is also expected to play a bigger part in tourism’s record-setting performance. According to a new study by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), MMGY Global and Travelzoo, the perceived value for money of cruising has significantly improved among prospective cruisers. In fact, 60 percent of the respondents said it was a past reason for not booking, whereas only 36 percent cited it as a current concern. The study examined first-time cruisers and also found which destinations are top of mind, that consumers value environmental responsibility, learning more about health and safety standards, and more.

Top Cruise Takeaways

The above survey was unveiled this week at Seatrade Cruise Global, taking place at the Miami Beach Convention Center. With the event going on there has been a slew of industry news this week regarding the world of cruising.

Travel Agent was on site for the “State of the Industry” in which leaders from CLIA, Carnival Corporation, MSC Group, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Group spoke on a myriad of topics. Of note, Josh Weinstein, president, CEO and chief climate officer of Carnival Corporation, said that the “pent-up” demand from the pandemic has subsided and that the current robust bookings are, in fact, “natural demand.” Record 2025 bookings are not an indication of rebound, but rather normalcy, he explained.

Marina Deck with water slide, Emerald Kaia_Rendering
Scenic Groups' Emerald Kaia will have staterooms with 10 percent more space than the previous yacht. (Emerald Cruises)

These soaring bookings are also leading lines to order new ships. Among the highlights:

  • Royal Caribbean Group recently entered into an agreement with French shipbuilder Chantiers de l’Atlantique to order a seventh Oasis-class ship for delivery in 2028.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has ordered eight new ships in new classes spread across its three brands—Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises—that are scheduled for delivery from 2026 to 2036.
  • MSC Cruises revealed the name of its newest shipMSC World Asia—with an anticipated delivery in 2026. Its MSC World America was also floated out and will be named on April 9, 2025, at PortMiami.
  • Carnival Corporation ordered two new Excel-class ships for its Carnival Cruise Line brand.
  • Scenic Group unveiled details of its new luxury ocean yacht, Emerald Kaia. It will accommodate 128 guests in cabins and suites that offer a 10 percent larger floor plan than the previous yacht.
  • Windstar Cruises announced the upcoming addition of two all-suite motor yachts to its fleet. The first of the two ships, Star Seeker, is expected to be delivered in December 2025, followed by Star Explorer in December 2026.

Running Your Travel Agency

An aerial view of the beach city of Fortaleza, Brazil
Brazil's eVisa program has been pushed back to April 10, 2025. (Photo by Jari Vieira/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

One day before Brazil’s visa requirement for Americans, Canadians and Australians was set to go into effect this week, the Brazilian government postponed the program by a full year. The requirement is now slated for reinstatement on April 10, 2025. This marks the third time the program has been pushed back. It also marks the longest postponement of the three.

What you will need to know: The electronic visa will allow multiple entries and will have a validity period of 10 years for Americans. Travelers will have to input their personal information and confirmation of a flight reservation and pay a fee of $80.90 to secure the visa—all of which is done online. Once approved, a PDF file containing your eVisa will be emailed to you. Download and print this eVisa for presentation during boarding and upon landing in Brazil.

To help inspire the next generation of travelers and travel industry members, Internova Travel Group is hosting a Youth Travel Summit, which gives BIPOC high school students an opportunity to learn from insiders and influencers in the travel industry. The event takes place April 13 at the network’s headquarters in New York City and will immediately be followed by a trip to Italy.

Lastly, Classic Vacations unveiled its enhanced multi-destination booking platform for travel advisors. The updated booking platform streamlines the booking process, enabling travel advisors to search for, courtesy hold, and facilitate multi-city tours, island-hopping adventures and cross-country expeditions. Classic Vacations also added specialized packaging services for advisors who would like to add components, including air, rail, ground transportation, in-destination tours and more.

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