MIAMI, March 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) President and CEO Christine Duffy today showcased the continued growth and bright future of the cruise industry during her keynote address which opened Cruise Shipping Miami, the premier annual event of the global cruise industry. Duffy also announced the establishment of CLIA's 14th cruise association - CLIA Italy - which will further enable the global association to speak more powerfully and act more effectively as one industry with one voice in key markets around the world.
A Strong 2014
Duffy spotlighted the industry's robust outlook for 2014, in which CLIA projects 21.7 million global passengers will cruise this year – up from the estimated 21.3 million passengers that cruised in 2013. The 410 ships of CLIA's 61 member cruise lines represent 95 percent of global cruise line capacity. To meet the growing demand for cruising, 24 new ships will launch by the end of 2015.
She noted the industry continues to expand its' reach "bringing passengers to the most sought after parts of the world-creating a more dynamic and competitive market for ports and destinations" and through the "expansion of cruising into new and emerging markets."
Targeting more first-time cruisers will also contribute to the industry's continued growth. A primary target for cruising is the 95 million-strong Millennials market – those consumers born between 1980 and 2000, who offer "a window into a whole new generation of travelers and provides opportunities for serious growth" as they have a strong desire for travel and shared experiences and represent a significant future market. The industry will also benefit by capitalizing on a number of trends, including its rich technology offerings that keep passengers connected while onboard and its natural appeal to multi-generational travelers, luxury and all-inclusive travelers and active travelers.
Focusing on the 2014 outlook, Duffy also highlighted CLIA's most recent travel agent survey that shows agents are bullish on cruise bookings, with more than 70 percent expecting sales this year to range from "good" to "excellent
Greater Executive Partner and Travel Agent Support
Duffy pledged greater support for CLIA's travel agent and agency members and Executive Partners.
Focusing on CLIA's continuing evolution to meet its member travel agent needs, Duffy stated that with "more choices, more ships, [and] more destinations, it's more important than ever that we encourage prospective passengers to use CLIA-certified travel advisors. These travel professionals invest tremendous amounts of time and energy in training and education to enable them to help find the right cruise for each customer."
Duffy stated that CLIA Executive Partners now have a wide range of membership levels — strategic, global, and regional— to meet their specific interests. She recognized and thanked the "founding" Strategic and Global Executive Partners and said, "With your support and guidance, we will continue to refine the value proposition of this program to ensure it continues to deliver maximum benefits to our cruise line and Executive Partner members."
She thanked those members who have participated as CLIA Executive Partners in the past and encouraged their continued engagement and support.
A Global Leader for a Global Industry
Duffy spoke to how CLIA and its member lines strive to be leaders in the development of policies and regulations that promote best practices and further enhance responsible cruise line operations and seek to "engage fully to facilitate transparency, consistency and accountability around the world." She highlighted CLIA's active involvement at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as a key component of its leadership in this area, spotlighting the adoption last year of several new operational policies by the IMO after first being voluntarily implemented by CLIA's members.
Highlighting the industry's ongoing commitment to safety, security and the environment, she stated that "Our commitment to socially responsible best practices is at the very core of all that we do in the cruise industry. This is not only the right thing to do, but the industry cannot be successful unless we demonstrate continuous improvement and operational excellence as a model for the entire maritime community."
Summing up the industry's bright future, Duffy concluded, "We're serving more passengers every year. We're receiving guest satisfaction rates that are among the highest in the entire travel industry. And, we continue to launch dynamic and spectacular ships that no one could have imagined just a decade ago."
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world's largest cruise industry trade association with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. CLIA represents the interests of cruise lines and travel agents before regulatory and legislative policy makers. CLIA is also engaged in travel agent training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and desirability of cruise holiday vacations with thousands of travel agency and travel agent members. CLIA's Associate Member and Executive Partner program includes the industry's leading providers of supplies and services that help cruise lines provide a safe, environmentally-friendly and enjoyable holiday vacation experience for millions of passengers every year. For more information on CLIA, the cruise industry, and CLIA-member cruise lines and travel agencies, visit www.cruising.org. CLIA can also be followed on the Cruise Lines International Association's Facebook and Twitter fan pages, and CEO Christine Duffy can be followed@CLIACEO and cruising.org/ceoblog.
SOURCE Cruise Lines International Association