The chair of Clia UK and Ireland has admitted 2019 is proving a “tough and challenging year”.
Opening the Clia Conference, which this year took place in Portsmouth, Tony Roberts, who is also vice president of Princess Cruises UK and Europe, told the 750 agent delegates present: “We can’t deny there are some things that are making the holiday market tough. The holiday market and cruise market are tracking behind where we were last year.
“Some of that is because people are booking their cruise holidays earlier, but for some people it’s because there is a different market out there. Some are having an irrational and emotional response to Brexit.”
He acknowledged there was also another issue facing the cruise sector: sustainability.
“This is really important for the cruise industry and we have to take steps forward – the whole industry needs to take steps forward,” he added. “We need everyone in this room to dispel myths and talk positively about some of the steps we are taking [on sustainability].”
Despite the challenges, Roberts also insisted there were numerous positives in the sector.
“We should look at things like Brexit as bumps in the road,” he added. “You only need to look at the order books to have real confidence in the cruise industry – there is $61 billion of ships on the order books. There is huge potential out there.”