Clia UK and Ireland is aiming to “get more people cruising and more often” with three working groups looking to increase interaction with the trade, consumers and PR.

The new structure was announced at the Clia Europe annual dinner, held at the Savoy last night, by Jo Rzymowska the association’s chair for UK and Ireland.

The groups will meet quarterly to discuss ways to boost cruise figures and to spread the word about the industry. The trade group is being led by Nick Wilkinson, Norwegian Cruise Line’s director business development UK, Ireland and Scandinavia.

The PR working group is headed by Lynn Narraway, managing director UK for Holland America Line and Seabourn. Ginger Taggart, executive director marketing of Disney Destinations International and Disney Cruise Line, is leading the consumer group.

Andy Harmer, director of Clia UK and Ireland, said: “This is our first whole year as Clia UK and Ireland and it has given us a chance to reflect and reenergise what we are doing for 2014. The aim of the three working groups is about working together to get more people to cruise and more often.

“The three groups will report to the executive committee, which also has new members. It’s about working together to grow the market sustainably.”

The new members joining the executive committee are Gerald Tempest, Giles Hawke, Lynn Narraway, Nathan Philpott, Stuart Leven and Daniela Wagner.

Speaking before guests at the dinner, Rzymowska said the industry had a long way to go in attracting new audiences.

She said: “We have some significant work to do. Cruise still has low penetration in the market, and many agents don’t understand the benefits of being a Clia member.  Too few customers know how brilliant an ocean cruise or river cruise is. But the good news is that we have a plan.”

She said the three working groups would consist of ten experts in their field and a cross section of ocean and river cruise representatives. “They will work together to tackle consumer engagement, trade engagement and journalist engagement,” she added.

As part of the new outlook for 2014, Harmer said Clia would be hosting five new roadshows aimed at agents who are keen to start selling cruises or increase the number of cruises they offer. The Kick Start Your Cruise Sales roadshow will be an expansion of the Evening Showcase event which it replaces.