The Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) is extending its European reach into Germany.

Clia Germany will focus extensively on strengthening relationships with travel agents and the German Travel Association.

Tui Cruises chief executive Richard Vogel, who also serves as chairman of the German Travel Association’s cruise section, will be the cruise industry’s primary liaison with agents.

The move follows the creation of Clia UK & Ireland to succeed the Passenger Shipping Association and the Association of Cruise Experts as well as Clia Netherlands as part of a new global structure.

Clia Europe chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio said: “We are very pleased to announce the establishment of Clia Germany as part of Clia’s new worldwide structure.

“With the establishment of a German national association, the cruise industry can better support its members locally and ensure they benefit from Clia’s global programmes in the second largest cruise market in Europe, one which has experienced substantial growth in recent years with the number of passengers growing from 1.2 million in 2010 to 1.4 million in 2011, a year-over-year increase of nearly 14%.”

Clia president and chief executive Christine Duffy, speaking at ITB in Berlin, added: “The establishment of Clia Germany further expands our presence in Europe, one of the most important markets for the global cruise industry.

“With a significantly enhanced presence in Europe the cruise industry has never been better positioned to speak with one global voice.”

Clia Germany’s leadership council will be led by Aida Cruises chief executive Michael Ungerer; Michael Zengerle, managing director of MSC Cruises Germany, as vice chairman; and Helge Grammerstorf, managing director of SeaConsult, as national director.