Cruise lines back Asian market growth


Southeast Asia is to become the latest base for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), with the appointment of a new chair and the hunt for a general manager to take charge of building membership.

A board meeting next month will set a new direction for CLIA Southeast Asia, and a report is expected to be tabled outlining goals for the first few years.

The fact that the body representing the world’s biggest cruise lines is now operating from the ASEAN region is yet another affirmation that the area is seen as a crucial part of the growth of cruise around the world.

The move will improve support services for Southeast Asia’s young but growing cruise market, and provide research tools, training and a lobby group for shipping lines.

CLIA’s global office is capable of offering strategic advice on just about everything cruise, including sales, port development and infrastructure and destination advice.

CLIA members like Princess have already started working strategically in partnership with some countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and even India, and CLIA Southeast Asia has run workshops for governments in Vietnam and the Philippines.

CLIA’s training is renowned, and it is expected that either Australia or the UK will offer online training. CLIA Australasia’s training officer Peter Kollar is running sales workshops for agents at the Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific conference in Hong Kong next month.

Ann Sherry, chief executive of Carnival Australia and attributed with turning around the industry to produce the world’s biggest growth rate of 20 per cent last year, will be CLIA Southeast Asia’s first chair.

She told ASEAN Cruise News in an exclusive interview her first priority would be port development and tourism industries supporting port development.

She said some ASEAN ports still thought souvenir T-shirts were enough to bring tourists. It would be CLIA’s role to help convince that tourists wanted better experiences.

Her second objective was to help train travel agents to sell cruise.

Asked what she hoped to achieve during her tenure, she said:

“There’s a number of things. One is we need to activate travel agents – part of the objective is training travel agents. This is a key target so that more cruises are sold to the local market.

“The second is to have all of the ASEAN countries with a cruise strategy. Hence the workshops we’ve been running, using the exemplars of some countries like Malaysia.

“The third is selling Asia as a destination to Australians, Americans and Europeans and also really making sure the product works for the domestic market as well. You need to have a balance “

To read Ann Sherry’s thoughts on CLIA Southeast Asia, click here.