Cruise bosses urge destinations to come onboard
Thursday 11, November 2010
Cruise bosses have called on destinations to see cruise lines as partners, not “the enemy”.
They also urged destinations to work more closely with them on joint marketing and said better dockside facilities were vital to keep passengers happy.
Speaking at a cruise debate at World Travel Market – the premier global event for the travel industry – cruise line bosses agreed that destinations were still the key factor in why passengers choose a particular itinerary, even though many ships are akin to floating resorts.
Cunard President Peter Shanks urged Cruise Baltic – which represents 27 ports in 10 countries – to “squeeze out more money” for marketing the region and its offerings.
He highlighted Barbados as a good example of a destination which works well with cruise lines and other stakeholders such as ports and airports to smooth the way for cruise passengers.
But he did flag up problems with the island’s infrastructure and “bumpy roads”.
Jo Rzymowska, UK General Manager for Royal Caribbean, agreed with Shanks about Barbados working with cruise lines rather than viewing them as “the enemy”.
But she warned: “Ports often operate as warehouses. It is important to get guest satisfaction when disembarking.”
Hong Kong was highlighted as one port which needs to “wake up and invest” as it has passengers disembarking at container berths.
Bo Larsen, Cruise Baltic Director, admitted it was a challenge to get people from many different countries, ports and cities to agree on joint marketing.
But he highlighted how certain cities are introducing innovative excursions to boost cruise line revenues, such as the Stieg Larsson ‘Millennium Trilogy’ tour of Stockholm.
He said the Baltic region is set to see 3.5m passengers next year and Northern Europe – which includes the British Isles, Baltics and fjords – has overtaken the Caribbean in terms of cruise passengers from the UK.
Petra Roach, European Vice-President of the Barbados Tourist Board, said bumpy roads were part of life in the Caribbean - but she agreed joint marketing was important, especially as cruises often acted as a taster for holidaymakers, encouraging them to visit again for a longer trip.
Geoff Lawrence, sales and marketing director of Voyages of Discovery and Swan Hellenic, said interesting and new destinations were vital for his itineraries as the cruise ships were much smaller and the repeat ratio for Swan Hellenic was 80%.
“We work hard with ports, guides and guest speakers and try to make each itinerary unique,” he told the debate.
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