THE sell-out conference saw attendees hear from a number of different speakers through broad panel discussions & keynote presentations, and explore Cruise360’s largest trade show ever, which featured more than 40 exhibitors.
Hosted by comedian James O’Loghlin, the conference was opened by both CLIA global Chair Pierfrancesco Vago, who beamed in globally, and local Managing Director Joel Katz, who attended in person.
“It’s you, our trade partners who are at the very heart of what we do as an industry,” Katz told attendees to kick off the conference. “Our successes are intrinsically linked, and we’re grateful to have the support and engagement that you provide. We are incredibly appreciative of that, and I want to thank all our supporters across the travel trade for the role they’ve taken in bringing us through the past two-and-a-half years and into recovery.”
The conference’s headliner was the opening “State of the Industry” panel, which featured Royal Caribbean Cruises Vice President & Managing Director Gavin Smith, Senior Vice President & Managing Director Asia Pacific Oceania Cruises & Regent Seven Seas Cruises Steve Odell, and new Carnival Corporation President Australia Marguerite Fitzgerald.
The panel discussed the current strength of the cruise industry, and provided motivation for trade partners, while also re-emphasising the importance of working together, partnership, flexibility, growth, and sustainability.
Attendees also heard from Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection President & Chief Executive Officer Ellen Bettridge, who offered agents thoughts on how they can take advantage of the “ready to travel again” mindset and reassert their importance.
Other panels included “New Age Cruising – The Evolution of Cruise”, moderated by Australian Cruise Association Chief Executive Officer Jill Abel; “Rebuilding and Looking to the Future”, chaired by Phil Hoffmann Travel Managing Director Phil Hoffmann, and “Searching For Authenticity – The Growth of Experiential Travel”, presided over by Heritage Expeditions Commercial Director Aaron Russ.
Also arbitrating a session was Clean Cruising General Manager Dan Russell, who on the day was presented with a ‘Cruise Champion’ award by CLIA for his active championing on behalf of the cruise industry the past 24 months.