Watching the difficult operation to bring Costa Concordia upright this week, I was reminded how our industry can occasionally be touched by tragedy.

And as senior members of the UK cruise industry prepared to gather for Clia’s Columbus Day on Thursday, the images will not have helped a sector that has also had its fair share of PR challenges since the terrible day the ship sank.

The theme of Columbus Day is Think Ahead, and that is what cruise operators and agents must do to ensure that potential customers understand the Costa Concordia tragedy was an isolated incident.

The fact remains that cruise has much to celebrate – millions of passengers are taken to explore different parts of the world every year and have a fabulous trouble-free time.

That is the key message to get across, so customers considering a cruise in the coming weeks don’t think only of the images from the island of Giglio.

The gathering of agents and suppliers at Columbus Day in Liverpool will cap off a big week for the trade in the northwest, with the Travel Weekly Northern Ball having returned to Manchester on Tuesday night.

And talking of agent events, check out the launch of our annual Cover Stars competition, which will see 12 new frontline travel sellers experience a designer makeover and photoshoot to appear on our front pages throughout 2014.

This year we’re working with Visit California, who will be hosting the lucky winners in the Golden State. What better place to celebrate our industry’s very own star attractions?