From the publisher

By Bruce Piper

There were a number of lessons for the wider travel industry in last month’s release of the new Economic Impact Assessment report for the Australian cruise industry. Those who enjoy poring over statistics and using data to support lobbying efforts will have been thrilled to delve into the minutiae of the figures. But for me, the background of how the report was generated is much more interesting.

This year’s cruise economic impact report was a joint effort between Cruise Lines International Association Australasia, representing the cruise operators, and the Australian Cruise Association which counts as its members many ports and activity operators across the country. Working together would seem to be a no-brainer for these organisations, but in fact until very recently they seemed to be working at cross-purposes.

Given the recent cooperation between CLIA and ACA, it’s hard to believe the low point in the relationship was just two years ago, when ACA hosted its 20th anniversary conference in Sydney. One of the keynote speakers was former Crystal Cruises managing director Edie Rodriguez — an entertaining choice, but at the time highly controversial because, as I understand it, there was strong pressure brought to bear by CLIA on cruise line executives to have no part in the ACA event. Rodriguez, ever the rebel, persevered with her presentation and was in fact the first ever CEO of an international cruise line to address an ACA conference.

Fast forward just two years to the most recent ACA event in Broome, which featured not one, but two of Australia’s most senior cruise line executives, in the form of Royal Caribbean’s new regional vice president Susan Bonner and Carnival Australia CEO Sture Myrmell. We also now have the jointly produced economic impact report, replacing two previous separately produced documents which embarrassingly for the whole cruise sector sometimes did not line up exactly.

The new era of cooperation between CLIA and ACA, I believe, provides a model for collaboration which it would do well for other major industry players to adopt. Often it seems there is such a focus on the successes and failures of close competitors that we can forget the bigger picture — which is that we are all in this industry together, and to coin a cruise-related phrase, “a rising tide lifts all boats”.