New structure to reinvigorate cruise sector, says Smith

New structure to reinvigorate cruise sector, says Smith
By admin

The Australian cruise sector will benefit from a new "consistency of message" when the International Cruise Council Australasia becomes part of Cruise Lines International Association, according to chairman Gavin Smith.

Smith admitted that, under the ICCA banner, the organisation has been "playing more defence than offence" when voicing the cruise industry's message.

"We're very reactive because we're not well organised as an association so we're just responding to issues," he told a media briefing last week.

He revealed the body will look to make use of CLIA's existing infrastructure to improve procedures, enabling the body to become more proactive.

"There will be a more consistent and relevant message that's coming from the collection of cruise lines rather than trying to work with individual brands on what are industry issues," he said.

But Smith highlighted the difficulties of maintaining relevance for its smaller members such a river cruise lines which have different needs and different issues beyond training and education.

"We need to ensure that when we sit down at the table at CLIA, that they've got the voice and the vehicle to express their needs," he said.

Meanwhile, managing director Brett Jardine predicted yields would begin to rise in the 2013/14 cruise season as the spike in capacity seen this year stabilises.

"What we will see as we grow the cruise message is a higher number of Australianss and New Zealanders getting on ships locally which is a good thing," he said. "That might start to see yields go up as it becomes more difficult for international passengers to get on the ships."

CLIA president and chief executive Christine Duffy added that Australia remains an "bucket list" destination for a large number of North American and European cruisers, offering huge opportunity for growth.

While she forecast solid growth this year for the mature North American and European markets, she stressed that won't hinder the development of emerging markets.

"We believe in emerging markets like Australia, Asia and Brazil," she said. "These are places where we believe we will continue to see significant growth for the cruise industry."



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