Cruise industry lays plans for consumer show

Cruise industry leaders plan to join forces to host a consumer show to boost sales.

With massive capacity entering the UK cruise sector in the next few years, cruise associations, operators and agents feel now is the time to attract new-to-cruise passengers and dispel misconceptions about cruising.

While individual companies have their own advertising campaigns, a joint effort could attract more consumers and benefit the whole market.

The Association of Cruise Experts held its inaugural UK Cruise Convention for the trade this year and business development director Andy Harmer said a consumer event is on the cards.

He said: “It’s on the agenda and we have a real role to play. The cruiselines and agents could join forces and talk to consumers.

“We may look at doing something in the second half of next year. It could take place at one of the ports so consumers could see the ships.”

Norwegian Cruise Lines vice-president international business development Francis Riley said a consumer convention would be a natural progression.

He said: “There is a lot of capacity coming into the market and we need to appeal to first-time cruisers. We need to promote the message that cruising is a great holiday.

“It would give us the opportunity to explain what cruising is all about.”

Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises UK managing director Jo Rzymowska also supported the idea.

From an agent point of view, Gills Cruise Centre chairman Alistair Gill said: “It’s good to raise the profile of cruise and with  the growing market it’s definitely an opportunity for agents.”

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