They are walking libraries of cruise information, they are among the best cruise sellers in Australia and we have their names.
The bow ties and designer heels were out on the weekend as 400 of the cruise industry’s biggest names gathered for the 2013 Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) awards.
Among the guests were CLIA Australasia general manager Brett Jardine, CLIA Australasia chairman and Royal Caribbean managing director of Australian operations Gavin Smith as well as international visitor CLIA chief executive Christine Duffy.
Held at the Doltone House Hyde Park Ballroom the annual event marked a big year of achievements with 14 winners announced across six categories including the inaugural CLIA Hall of Fame inductee.
The top award of the night, the Australian Cruise Agency of the Year award, went to Western Australia’s Bicton Travel for the third time in a row. Weston Cruise & Travel ACT’s Deborah Long took out the cruise consultant of the year award.
Deborah told Cruise Passenger cruising is her agency’s fastest growing business because more cruisers are booking through agents.
She says since 2011 cruise bookings have increased by 30-35 percent.
“Once upon a time, we’d be booking one or two a week and now we book anywhere between five to seven a day,” she said.
“I think growth is because more people are realising the value of cruising, but also the fact that agencies are putting more concentrated effort to introduce it to people and put it under their noses is making a difference.”
Deborah says clients are booking all forms of cruising, from ocean to river.
“We see quite a mix, definitely ocean cruising is very big but river cruising is really growing,” she added.
Meanwhile, Cruiseco chief executive Steve Lloyd was named the inaugural inductee to the new CLIA Hall of Fame for over 45 years in the Australasian cruise industry.
Speaking at the event, Ms Duffy said there are over 1,100 CLIA agencies in Australasia who specialize in cruising to help passengers book the right cruise.
“We have seen an explosion of information about cruising on the Internet which is why it’s more popular than ever before and it’s why consumers need help from travel agents,” she explained.
“I believe the greatest days for the industry lie ahead and more than 70 percent of travel agents believe they’ll have strong cruise business this year.”