Economic trends positively impacting cruise travel: CLIA

Economic trends positively impacting cruise travel: CLIA

WASHINGTON — CLIA’s latest Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report shows demand for river cruises continues to rise, while many more travellers are cruising closer to home.

The report, conducted in February, is the second in an ongoing quarterly research study from CLIA, designed to forecast trends in the cruise industry among the travel agent community. The data and research are compiled based on online survey responses from the CLIA Travel Agent Research Panel, which consists of 700 travel agents from the U.S. and Canada.

“Travel agents truly are the experts when it comes to identifying and forecasting cruise travel trends,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA.

According to the report, more than half of agents (53%) said lower airfares have had a positive impact on cruise sales, with cruise travellers finding it more affordable to travel to and from cruise ports.

While international cruise itineraries remain in demand, the report found passengers are currently planning cruise vacations close to home. Almost three-quarters of agents (73%) have seen an uptick in bookings to Alaska and nearly half (48%) are experiencing an increase in cruise demand for the Caribbean, Bermuda and Mexico cruises.

About a third of agents reported an increased interest in cruises to Hawaii (36%) and the Panama Canal (33%) as well as Canada and New England (30%).

More than 60% of travel agents said river cruises continue to offer the most potential for growth this year. At the same time, “very large” or “big ships” are also expected to experience growth, according to nearly 60% of respondents. Agents also said they were optimistic about the prospects for ocean liner cruise sales, with more than 40% of respondents anticipating increases in demand.