Shareholder return is a vitally important part of the cruise industry if it is to attract more investment to allow it to grow, says Celebrity Cruises chief executive Michael Bayley.

Bayley told the Clia Columbus Day in Liverpool that profitability was a core component for cruise operators that need to invest billions of dollars to build new vessels.

“It’s incredibly important that we are providing an adequate return to shareholders and investors who put literally billions of dollars into the product. The marketplace for capital is very competitive. It’s not just available anywhere, people want to know that when they invest in whatever sector that they can get the return associated with any risk.

“We need to be able to encourage more investment. We need to introduce new brands and products and certainly need to introduce new ships. To achieve that we must achieve more revenue and reduce costs.”

Bayley, for instance, called for a more collaborative approach to port development in emerging cruise markets, the costs of which are currently passed on to the cruise lines which in turn pass them on to customers. “That’s really something that needs to be worked on,” he said.

Bayley added that the cruise industry must look to develop new sources of passengers like in the fast-growing markets of South East Asia, China and South America.