Most agents confident Wave season will be a good one

By Johanna Jainchill
Jim Berra and Christine DuffyNEW YORK — It’s too early to tell how the 2014 Wave season will roll, but most travel agents are bullish, CLIA said today.

Speaking at its annual State of the Cruise Industry event here on Thursday, Jim Berra, chairman of the of CLIA marketing committee and chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines, said that 70% of CLIA member agents said in a survey that they expected 2014 cruise sales to be either good or excellent.

“Agents are bullish on 2014,” Berra said, adding that 95% think that an improving economy will drive as good or better sales over 2013.

The survey also found that agents were successfully attracting highly coveted first-time cruisers; 87.7% of agents reported similar or increased sales to new cruisers.

The cruise lines will continue to give those agents more product to sell; 16 new ships (including river vessels) are expected to enter service this year, adding an additional 20,000 beds to the CLIA fleet.

CLIA CEO Christine Duffy said that CLIA cruise ships are expected to carry 21.7 million cruisers in 2014, 55.1% of them North American, 30.1% European and 14.8% from the rest of the world.

Looking ahead, Duffy said that Germany would likely overtake the U.K. as the second-largest world cruise market. Germany now represents 7.7% of the total cruisers, but has grown 80.5% over the last five years.

This year, cruise capacity is back up in the Caribbean, with 37.3% of global share, up from 34.4% last year. Capacity will be down again in the Mediterranean, to 18.9% from 21.7%, which Duffy attributed to the economy in Europe. Northern Europe, however, will have slightly more capacity than in 2013, 11.1% over 10.9%.

Emphasizing CLIA members’ support for travel agents, Duffy said that CLIA planned to more heavily promote CLIA certified travel agents to consumers, via its website and promotional materials.

Follow Johanna Jainchill on Twitter @jjainchilltw.
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