JOEL Katz, Managing Director CLIA Australasia
Industry celebrates Down Under
With Australia and New Zealand both hitting the peak of their summer cruise seasons, there couldn’t have been a better time to celebrate cruising than last month. CLIA’s 18th annual Cruise Industry Awards once again coincided with the busiest month of the year — and this year it was an especially big one.
In all there were 44 cruise ships in Australian and New Zealand waters during February, making more than 350 calls at 55 ports. Together they carried a total of 400,000 passengers.
It provided a magnificent reminder of the success and economic significance of our industry — worth almost $5 billion annually to Australia alone — and it set the stage perfectly for the CLIA awards.
Many of the 500-plus guests who joined our gala dinner on February 23 had already celebrated at a string of other events that helped mark a successful cruise season. With so many new and returning international vessels passing through local waters, the major cruise lines held a succession of ship inspections and welcome events that provided an opportunity to see the latest product developments first hand.
It meant that the CLIAs were the culmination of an especially festive season, one that still has many highlights to come. It also helped maintain a level of enthusiasm that was already evident in the passion with which travel agents approached this year’s awards.
CLIA’s Cruise Industry Awards attracted a record number of entries this year, with around 500 submissions put forward for consideration. Having created an updated nomination and judging process, we were delighted with the response and the standard of entries that we received.
The level of engagement and creativity shown among travel agents was a sign of the increasing potential they see in cruise, and the investment they are making in developing their cruise business is more professional and sophisticated than ever before.
One of the ways we now recognise these additional efforts is through the new Cruise Champion category, offered for the first time this year. This award recognises the efforts that travel agents are making not just as a sales force, but as passionate advocates for cruising. It’s an area we plan to focus on more in the future — to help fuel the passion of cruise advocates, ensure they’re well equipped with information and insight, and allow them to step forward as champions for the cruise industry and our collective interests.
Our congratulations to all the successful winners from this year’s CLIA Cruise Industry Awards. The levels of energy they showed in the past year were a sure sign we’re going to see many more super months like February in the future.