Today, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) released the second Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report of 2016, revealing economic trends are positively impacting cruise travel, travelers are cruising closer to home and demand for river cruises continues. The report, which was 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.
“Travel agents truly are the experts when it comes to identifying and forecasting cruise travel trends,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “Through the ongoing Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook, we are able to tap into the knowledge and expertise of agents to identify the most current trends impacting the cruise industry.”
Economic Trends Impacting Cruise Travel
According to the report, more than half of agents (53 percent) stated that lower airfares have had a positive impact on cruise sales, with cruise travelers finding it more affordable to travel to and from cruise ports. Similarly, 30 percent of agents stated that favorable currency exchange rates are making cruising more attractive for customers interested in international cruise vacations.
Cruising Closer to Home
While international cruise itineraries remain in demand, the report found Americans are currently planning cruise vacations close to home. Almost three-quarters of agents (73 percent) have seen an uptick in bookings to Alaska and nearly half (48 percent) are experiencing an increase in cruise demand for the Caribbean, Bermuda and Mexico cruises. Additionally, about a third of agents are reporting an increased interest in cruises to Hawaii (36 percent) and the Panama Canal (33 percent) as well as Canada and New England (30 percent).
Rise of the River Cruise
According to more than 60 percent of travel agents, 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 percent of agents. Agents are also optimistic about the desire in ocean liner cruises, with more than 40 percent of respondents anticipating increases in demand.
Travel professionals in the cruise industry, can have their voice heard by joining the CLIA Travel Agent Research Panel. Simply email [email protected].