Customers will not be put off booking river cruises by a string of recent incidents on the water, Clia deputy chair Giles Hawke has told the Clia River Cruise Review 2018.
Earlier this month, five people were hurt when MSC Opera struck Uniworld’s River Countess after developing an engine fault while preparing to dock in Venice’s Giudecca canal.
Then, just a week later, a tourist boat was struck by a Viking River Cruises ship on the Danube in Budapest during heavy rains.
More than 20 people, mainly South Korean tourists, are feared dead, with some still yet unaccounted for.
Responding to questions around recent incidents, Hawke urged river cruise lines to “share information and learn from any mistakes".
"River cruise safety is second to none," Hawke told delegates. "Most consumers view these events as few and far between and don’t consider this when choosing whether to book a cruise."
Hawke also addressed the issue of overtourism, and the impact river cruising has both on waterways and the towns and cities lines visit.
"Only 5% of activity on rivers is cruise," he said. "We often visit local towns and villages because we want the customer to have an authentic experience and blend in with what happens locally."
He added these localities often welcome river cruise ships for the revenue they bring and don’t see them as contributing to overcrowding.
“River cruises are good at spreading tourist dollars to places that are not so oversubscribed, so it is actually contributing towards preventing overtourism,” Hawke added.