Travel agents encourages to attend cruise expos

Travel agents are being encouraged to attend a series of nationwide cruise expos which start this month to improve their knowledge of the sector.

The expos, run by the Association of Cruise Experts, are open to agents who have yet to break into the cruise market as well as those with specialist knowledge.

ACE’s membership currently covers 2,150 agency sites but agents do not have to be members to attend the free expos.

Travel Weekly is media sponsor of the expos, which aim to offer agents networking opportunities with cruiselines as well as product training. Apart from the first expo in Dover on June 18-19, all are one day events.

ACE director of business development Andy Harmer said: “The expos are aimed at all levels of agents and even if people know nothing about the industry or have a good cruise knowledge they can come along.”

The format for the expos has changed from previous ACE training sessions, which have focused on traditional classroom-style events.

Harmer added: “We used to attract small numbers in classroom training but what was clear was that agents wanted to network with as many cruiselines as possible and pick and choose sessions to go to. Now we have a range of activities, guest speakers and break-out sessions. We are hoping for big numbers at the expos based in the cities.”

There are still spaces on some of the expos, all of which have guest speakers apart from Dover, which focuses on the luxury sector and ship visits. The Dover expo is already full. Others are each expected to attract more than 100 agents.

The dates of the expos are: Dover, June 18-19;  Manchester The Lowry, June 24; Ipswich, June 26;  Gatwick, Ramada Jarvis, September 9; Birmingham, September 18; Newcastle Upon Tyne, October 9.

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