By Joel Katz, Managing Director, CLIA Australasia
Wherever we see destinations that are successful at fostering cruise tourism, they are inevitably destinations with close collaboration among the many working parts that make up a cruise community.
This month I have been at the 10th Asia Cruise Forum in Jeju, South Korea, where there’s a clear enthusiasm for cruising and a strong will to unite around its future.
Collaborations are the key. Not just between cruise lines and travel agents, but also among tourism authorities, local and national governments, tour operators, port authorities, food producers, technical support providers, local chambers of commerce, retail associations, and many others.
These collaborations might be led by government or by tourism authorities, or they might be united at a grass-roots level by local business working groups and passionate individuals.
What they have in common is a comprehensive Cruise Tourism Strategy – a vision, or a roadmap to ensure cruise tourism continues to grow in a way that is aligned with the destination’s needs and aspirations.
Its objectives are to grow the value of the visitor economy and improve the visitor experience.
It might seek to channel cruise tourism in ways that solve problems. It might harness the planned and scheduled nature of cruise tourism to achieve dispersal, or regional development. It might utilise cruise tourism to celebrate a local culture, providing an authentic experience for visitors while also creating opportunities for young people to gain an active involvement in the traditions of their elders.
Every destination will be different.
But by working together, communities can unite around a strategy that supports the ongoing development of the cruise sector and ultimately expands cruise tourism in a way that is sustainable and brings mutual benefits for all those involved.