Del Rio Says Geopolitics Is Cruising’s Biggest Challenge


Frank Del Rio

From the eastern Med to Cuba, changing geopolitics are impacting the cruise industry, oftentimes in unpredictable ways.

At the recent Cruise Shipping Miami conference for instance, it was illuminating that when asked what represents the biggest threat to cruising, NCLH CEO Frank Del Rio's response centered on geopolitics.

“I think the threat is the geopolitical environment that we operate in. We're global. Somewhere around the world something is always happening and we just cross our fingers that our ships aren't there when it happens."

Del Rio also noted there are many destinations that the industry would love to go to, but for the most part cannot due to strife.

“Look at the eastern Mediterranean,“ continued Del Rio. “Imagine an itinerary where you can go to Egypt and go to Libya and go to Tunisia, and go to Syria and go to Lebanon and go to Israel. You know the best Roman ruins of the world are not in downtown Rome. They are
in places like Syria, they are in places like Libya."

Del Rio's comments were prophetic. Less than two days after his observations were made in Miami, a terrorist attack in Tunisia killed 18 cruise passengers taking separate shore excursions to a museum in Tunis. The fact that Tunisia was out of the news cycle within three days lends further support to Del Rio's general point. After all, it was another international conflict, this time in Yemen, which knocked Tunis off the international news pages.

Little wonder that Del Rio even takes exception to the theory that land-based resorts represent cruising's biggest competitor: “It's events that you can't control, that's the biggest competitor that we have."

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