Another terrorist attack in a European capital has sent shockwaves around the world and, once again, raises the question of the immediate future of tourism in Europe. The bombings in Brussels come close behind similar attacks in Turkey and Paris, and many in the industry are wondering how this will affect travellers.
Speaking at a Sydney lunch focused on cruising in Europe, Royal Caribbean’s new Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand Adam Armstrong said he was confident the region would recover. He highlighted the fact that tourism to Europe is valued at US$450 billion annually with 1.2 million Australians travelling there each year. “Tourism in Europe will continue despite these events,” he said. “It is important that we continue so that we encourage the economy to bounce back quickly.”
Royal Caribbean currently has 16 ships sailing in Europe under its three brands (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises). It’s two newest ships will launch directly into the European market – Ovation of the Seas in April (for a handful of cruises before transiting to Asia) and Harmony of the Seas from Barcelona in June.
Mr Armstrong said that the brand is seeing strong growth in Europe outside of the Mediterranean. Voyages to Northern Europe (like Norway, Iceland, the Baltic and British Isles) are almost sold out for 2016 with the 2017 season now on sale. Eastern European ports like Croatia and Malta are also becoming more popular with new itineraries added to meet demand.