Clia president and chief executive Christine Duffy will make her first UK appearance at this year’s Columbus Day.

The event, aimed at directors, senior managers and owner/managers, will take place in Liverpool on September 19.

US-based Duffy, who has served on the boards of the US Travel Association, Starwood Hotels and Visit Florida, will bring a global perspective to the event as head of Cruise Lines International Association, the industry’s worldwide trade body.

Also speaking at the event will be Neil Palomba, corporate operating officer at MSC Cruises.

The duo will take to the stage alongside entrepreneur Jo Malone; Michael Bayley, president and chief executive of Celebrity Cruises; Steve Odell, Silversea president for Europe and Asia Pacific; Guy Zitter, group managing director of Mail Newspapers; and Mike Southon, author and business ambassador.

Entries are still open for the Clia UK & Ireland Cruise Excellence Awards, which recognise the contributions made by individuals in the cruise industry.

The winners will receive their awards at a dinner following a day of networking and presentations.

More than 400 delegates are expected to attend the event to hear topics ranging from global changes within cruising to how retailing is adapting to reflect a rapidly changing customer.

Andy Harmer, director of Clia UK & Ireland, said the event – for which Travel Weekly is once again trade media partner – would bring together key players in the sector.

He said he wanted those who attend to leave feeling inspired and full of ideas that they can take back to their workplace.

He added: “We have such a great line-up of speakers at this year’s event covering many different, but key, topics.

“We are delighted Christine will be bringing a global perspective to an industry that every year attracts more than 20 million passengers worldwide and which offers huge potential for continued growth.”