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By Gerry Barker
That message was delivered loud and clear at the Cruise Lines International Association's (CLIA) Cruise360, their annual conference and trade show, held at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, April 18-23.
Described by CLIA as "Our biggest professional development event of the year, Cruise360 features a week's worth of professional development, ship inspections, networking and the latest industry trends." This year's event was sold out, with some 1,800 travel advisors in attendance, including 500 first-timers.
As an organization, CLIA represents "95% of the world’s ocean-going cruise capacity, as well as 54,000 travel agents, and 15,000 of the largest travel agencies in the world." Headquartered in Washington, DC, it has regional offices in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australasia.
CLIA’s vice president of industry and trade relations, Charles Sylvia, did his best Ted Lasso imitation at Thursday's general session, encouraging advisors to "Believe" in the opportunity to sell the world's best vacation experience.
That sentiment was echoed by CLIA president and CEO, Kelly Craighead, along with cruise line executives and senior sales leaders throughout the conference. CLIA also shared their "2023 State of the Cruise Industry," which highlighted a number of trends and statistics, including:
Protecting the environment and sustainability were also top-of-mind topics for panelists.
The overarching message to advisors was cruising is sailing into a bright future, and there's not been a better time to be selling cruise vacations.
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