Government support for the contribution the cruise industry makes to the UK economy will come from shipping minister Mike Penning at next month’s ACE UK Cruise Convention.
Penning will give the keynote speech at the opening day of the convention in Southampton on May 3.
He will address Columbus Day delegates, senior agency owner-managers and ACE Ambassador agents, on board Fred Olsen ship Balmoral.
Carnival UK chief executive David Dingle will be guest speaker at the convention’s first Columbus Day dinner to be held on the evening of May 3 at the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel in Southampton.
He will give his perspective on the changing economic cruise arena and how agents and cruise lines can work together to continue to grow the market within a profitable environment.
Columbus Day has been created to provide marketing tips for senior agents while frontline sales staff will receive sales information on the remained two days of the convention, which will see sessions staged on board Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas, Cunard’s new ship Queen Elizabeth and P&O Cruises’ Aurora.
Those attending Columbus Day will hear results of a new study into consumer buying trends complied by Mail Newspapers.
Senior industry speaker Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises’ customer service, sales and marketing executive vice-president, will provide an insider’s guide to retail success from an US viewpoint, where a more mature cruise industry attracts more than 13 million passengers a year.
Norwegian Cruise Line global sales and passenger services executive vice president Andy Stuart will talk about capitalising on the digital revolution, particularly relevant in attracting new to cruise customers.
The fifth annual ACE UK Cruise Convention is supported by 33 cruise lines and includes a trade fair on the second day and break out sessions for agents on the final day.
ACE director Flo Powell said: “We came up with the concept of Columbus Day to offer a dedicated programme of conference sessions and speakers for the many senior cruise industry managers, both from travel agents and cruise lines, who attend the convention each year.
“The line up of speakers promises to bring to the convention a wealth of experience and knowledge and provide a vital insight into the cruise sector tailored specifically to the senior management level in the industry.
“Of course no one in the UK cruise industry knows more about the challenges and opportunities it presents than David Dingle due both to his position at the helm of Carnival UK and with the European Cruise Council.
“We’re delighted to have secured his services for the exclusive evening function for Columbus Day attendees on the opening day of this year’s convention.”
The final day for registrations for the convention is April 21.
The full programme and booking details can be found here.