This week saw the annual North America Cruise360 Conference in Hollywood, Florida take place, marking the first time the event has been held in-person since 2019.
The CLIA-organized conference launched with a celebratory air for industry members gathered there, but CLIA also pushed for more on behalf of the industry.
CLIA’s North American Travel Trade Membership consists of 45,000 travel agents and agencies, and represents the largest network of travel professionals who focus on cruise.
“With industry leading protocols in place guiding the resumption of operations in Europe and Asia, and with the growing availability of vaccines, it was you and your voices that successfully made the case for cruise resumption in the United States,” CLIA president and CEO Kelly Craighead praised travel advisors.
She was referring to CLIA’s ‘Ready, Set, Sail’ initiative launched earlier this year that engaged the wider cruise community, many of whom are travel advisors, to call on U.S. Congress members and the White House to support the re-starting of cruising in U.S. waters.
Craighead says that advocacy work is not done yet. According to her, by the end of the summer, nearly 150 ships could be sailing, but that’s only about 50 per cent of CLIA cruise line members’ ocean-going cruise ships.
In JUL alone, 25 ships have sailed from U.S. ports. Following a ‘temporary’ change to American regulations that would permit ships to skip over Canadian ports, American cruising also began to include Alaska, a state that has lost $3 billion in revenue because of the shutdown of the industry in 2020.
As Open Jaw reported, Canada accelerated the timeline for its own cruise reopening to 01NOV. That’s not soon enough to salvage any part of the Alaska or Eastern Canada cruise season for Canadian ports. In addition, the advisory for Canadians not to cruise internationally still remains in place.