| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Jan 30 Cruise lines carried 20.3
million passengers last year and expect the numbers to rise in
2013 as more companies focus resources on luring Asian clients,
industry experts said on Wednesday.
A year after the Costa Concordia disaster off the coast of
Italy with the loss of 32 lives, the Cruise Lines International
Association (CLIA), which represents cruise lines around the
globe, said it expects to reach 20.97 million passengers this
"The industry is well positioned to continue with this
trajectory," Christine Duffy, CLIA's president and CEO, told a
news conference, adding that new policies have been introduced
following a review after the accident.
The Caribbean, Mediterranean and Europe remain the top
cruise destinations, with Americans and Canadians making up the
bulk of passengers, but the industry is rapidly going global
with Australia and Asia the big growth area.
"We are very bullish on China and Asia as a whole," said Jim
Berra, chief marketing officer of Carnival Cruise Lines
and CLIA's marketing chair.
He added that cruise lines are investing in the region with
more home ports and ports of call, and sending ships into the
region to meet the growing market.
"By 2020 the Chinese market is projected to be a $7 trillion
consumer economy and will have created the largest middle class
that ever existed on Earth," he said.
Cruise lines, as a result, will be adding itineraries to
Japan, China and Australia, South Korea and Vietnam.
"Some of our newer, bigger ships are heading to these
markets because the demand is there," Berra added.
Along with Asian destinations, cruise lines are adding
trips to exotic locales such as Morocco, Antarctica, Iceland and
the Galapagos Islands, and are ramping up on-board entertainment
with Broadway shows and appearances of Tony-award winning actors
and reality show stars, he said.
A CLIA poll of travel agents who book cruises showed that
multigenerational travel, weddings and honeymoons are seen as
the top potential growth groups for cruises.
"It's all about innovation, global markets and how you open
up to them," said Berra.