CLIA Sees 80% Increase In Travel Agent Engagement In 2015/16 - Releases 2017 State Of The Industry Outlook

Open Jaw

Cruise Lines International Association has released the 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, which looks at expected developments for the year and forecasts the top cruise travel trends that will impact the industry.

The industry organization predicts an estimated 25.3 million paxwill cruise in 2017, a strong surge from 15.8 million just 10 years ago. More ships will set sail in 2017 as well. CLIA reports that cruise lines are scheduled to debut 26 new ocean, river and specialty ships in 2017, representing a total investment of more than $6.8 billion in new vessels.

Looking further ahead, from 2017-2026 the industry is expected to introduce a total of 97 new cruise shipstotalling an estimated investment of $53 billion.

“The cruise industry is responding to global demand and we are highly encouraged by both the short-term and long-term outlook,” said CLIA President & CEO Cindy D’Aoust. “From technological advancements and deployment of new ships to new ports and destinations around the world, the industry continues to respond to desires of today’s travellers resulting in steady growth and strong economic impact around the world.”

Cruise industry expenditures generated $117 billion in total output worldwide, supporting just under 1 million full-time equivalent employees who earned $38 billionin income in 2015.

As part of the 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, CLIA has forecast key trends that will have the most impact on the cruise industry this year. Here’s a summary:

Next Generation(s) – A recent study found that younger generations - including Millennials and Generation X - will embrace cruise travel more than ever, rating it higher than land-based vacations, all-inclusive resorts, tours, vacation house rentals or camping.

Travel Agent Use Increases – According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, consumer use of a travel agent increased nearly 80% from 2015 to 2016. Supporting this, CLIA predicts travel agents will continue to be the matchmakers between travellers and cruise lines. There are now more than25,000 CLIA-member travel agents globally compared to 12,000 in 2010. CLIA also found that cruisers report high levels of satisfaction with their travel experience when assisted by an agent.

River Cruise Demand Increases – River cruises offer travellers a unique and intimate travel experience. CLIA cruise line members currently deploy 184 river cruise ships with 13 new river cruise ships on order for 2017.

More Private Islands – As more cruise lines introduce private island destinations, travellers are responding and booking these itineraries. In 2017, cruise lines will offer ports on 7 private islands.

New-To-Cruise – Interest in ocean cruising is projected to remain strong in 2017. When asked what kind of vacations might be of interest in the next 3 years nearly 1/2of non-cruisers expressed interest in taking an ocean cruise while a striking 85% of cruisers also expressed interest.

Lure of Celeb Chefs – Cruise travellers are embracing specialty dining and will continue to consider cruise dining experiences based upon celebrity chefs. This year, several cruise lines feature restaurants and dishes created by famous chefs including Guy Fieri, Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa and Geoffrey Zakarian. 

Demand for Expedition Cruises – According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel is growing at a record pace and CLIA is reporting that cruise expeditions are seeing the impact. Itineraries for Antarctica, for example, regularly sell out. 

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