Royal Caribbean's Fain: Delta variant dampens bookings, not optimism

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T0906FAINVIDGRAB [credit: Royal Caribbean]
A still from a video of Royal Caribbean Group CEO Richard Fain to travel advisors.

Royal Caribbean Group CEO Richard Fain said that the delta variant has hurt cruise bookings but has not changed the positive trajectory of the industry.

In a video directed to travel advisors, Fain implored Americans to get vaccinated "for our country," saying that Covid is a "a battle we simply can't afford to lose."

Delta "has hurt our bookings your business, especially for this year and the beginning of next, but even delta has not shaken the underlying trajectory of our industry," he said. "Cruises are operating, and forward booking shows that the pent-up demand is strong. All in all, it's precisely the trajectory we hoped for pre-delta and one which looks to resume shortly."

Fain acknowledged that "We are not where we hoped to be. We have taken one step back after taking two steps forward. Fortunately, more forward steps are coming."

And he said bookings in the near term are not at the level necessary "to make the kind of money we all need, but that, too, is ramping up. The end of this battle is in sight, but we can't let down our guard.

"All of us need to get vaccinated," he said. "Not for ourselves but for our loved loves ones, friends, and yes, for our country."

Fain compared the battle against the pandemic with the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, saying that in both cases the enemy is  "powerful and determined" and is "costing us heavily."

He said America was strong then "because we shared a common objective: the entire country was united with a common goal."

"America can do amazing things when we work together," Fain said. "We are a country that admires rugged individualism. But despite that individualism, there are times when we need to do what is best for all rather than doing just what seems best for 'me,' personally. Sometimes we have to sacrifice some of that individuality to look out for each other."

He told advisors that their "knowledge and insight is needed now more than ever. Remain confident and focus on what you can do to make a difference to your clients."

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