The global chairman of the cruise industry’s peak body has thanked travel agents for their continued loyalty to the sector throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to Travel Weekly yesterday during a virtual media roundtable discussion hosted by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Adam Goldstein said the organisation will do “everything in our power” to try to create or enable a cruise season this coming summer.
“That’s the very best thing we can do for travel agents in Australia and New Zealand,” he said.
“There are no guarantees. We can only ask people to hang in there with us and see us through this.
“We’re extremely appreciative of the loyalty that travel agents continue to demonstrate to us absolutely everywhere.”
Goldstein acknowledged that while it was a “brutal environment” for agents right now, it was important that they keep customers informed and continue to promote the benefits of cruising when it’s available.
“Even with all the online information that’s available, and all the research people do normally when they’re planning vacations and such, they’re still very dependent on travel agents as professionals to convey the most accurate information possible [and] the latest that they know [on] what’s going on.”
CLIA’s global chairman also used the roundtable discussion to “put to rest any possible concerns that there isn’t dialogue going on” with the relevant authorities in Australia and New Zealand around the resumption of cruising.
“We are absolutely engaged as CLIA – as the industry – with authorities in both countries,” he said.
“When it comes to Australia and New Zealand, of course, we will respect the interests and wishes and requirements of the authorities, but certainly we believe that some type of sequential restart of that sort should be viable – should be in the dialogue – given the geographies and coastlines, and available or reachable cities and towns and communities along the Australian and New Zealand coasts.
“And then, of course, we’re very aware that there’s been dialogue particularly as between Australia and New Zealand that may at some point lead to a travel ‘bubble’, and possibly at some point, cruising would be included in that approach. We don’t know that yet, but that’s certainly a possibility.”