Jun 09, 2010

June 2-6 Conference and Trade Show in Vancouver Draws 1,407 Agent Registrations, 302 Exhibitors and 44 Sponsors

Fort Lauderdale, FL — June 9, 2010 —

Celebrating women of influence and accomplishment in travel and business and putting a spotlight on key issues facing the industry, Cruise Lines International Association’s cruise3sixty 2010 conference and trade show in Vancouver, June 2-6, had 1,407 registered travel selling professional delegates resulting in 1,220 agents onsite. Including exhibitors and suppliers, cruise3sixty hosted nearly 2100 total delegates. cruise3sixty also welcomed 302 trade show exhibitor booths – both record-breaking numbers. As CLIA announced today that registration for cruise3sixty 2011 in Fort Lauderdale is already open, early feedback about this year’s Vancouver conference, received from agents on CLIA’s Facebook Fan page, included rave reviews.

Reflecting the growing importance of Canada’s cruise market, Canadian agents accounted for 46% of cruise3sixty attendees this year, with American participation evenly distributed between eastern and western regions of the U.S. Among international participants there were 25 delegates from Australia as well as from Brazil, India, Turkey and other countries around the world, another strong indication of the globalization of the industry. In its sixth year, this was the first time cruise3sixty was held outside of Fort Lauderdale, where the association is headquartered. Once again, American Express was cruise3sixty’s Presenting Sponsor, joined by Tourism Vancouver, Port Metro Vancouver, Vancouver International Airport, Super, Natural British Columbia and a host of other sponsors, including Amadeus and Sabre Travel Network.

"cruise3sixty has grown bigger and better each year and we were delighted by the exceptionally strong response to holding it in the magnificent city of Vancouver,"said Terry L. Dale, CLIA’s president and CEO. "In addition to our many loyal travel agent partners from the United States, the strong showing by agents from Canada and other parts of the world are an indication of how important international business and the globalization of cruise operations are for the industry going forward. Our heartfelt thanks to all our sponsors and everyone who helped to make cruise3sixty 2010 a resounding success."

The conference opened with a welcome reception for all delegates at the Vancouver Aquarium complete with a dolphin show starring CLIA’s president. After introductory remarks by Rick Antonson, president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver and Chris Badger, chief operating office of Port Metro Vancouver, the first general session got underway with the "A View from the Bridge"Presidents Panel. Representing Crystal Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and Windstar Cruises, the panel fielded questions about what the industry learned from the recession that can be applied to the future from Dr. Lalia Rach, dean at the Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University.

Acknowledging the important role of agents, Dan Hanrahan, Celebrity’s president, noted "a lesson we’re not likely to forget: that we’re lucky to have good partners at a time when you can’t do things alone."The executives were unanimous in citing value as the industry’s strongest sales message. "No other holiday can deliver the value that cruising does,"said Peter Shanks, Cunard’s president and managing director. Stein Kruse, of Holland America, said he was struck by the irony that in 1982 cruise prices were higher than they are now while today’s product is "vastly superior."The presidents were later joined by Jo Kling, president of Landry & Kling, and Claire Bennett, senior VP at American Express, who joined a discussion of strategies for attracting first time cruisers as well as ways to encourage young people to become travel agents.

The latter topic was echoed later in the conference in a panel discussion entitled "Developing and Mentoring the Travel Agent of Tomorrow"in which the agent panelists agreed that the term "travel agent"may be outdated and stressed the importance of focusing on the professionalism, training and experience of today’s cruise sellers. The value of mentoring, including reverse-mentoring (young mentoring more experienced professionals) and the frequent need to mentor clients, was a common theme in this and other panel discussions at cruise3sixty. This was particularly true among panelists taking on the topic "Does Gender Affect Decision Making and Leadership?"All eight male and female executives from the industry cited the importance of a highly valued mentor in their success. Other panel discussions included "The Small Ship Experience Delivers Big Rewards"and "Redefining Luxury in a New Economy."

"Do You Need to be More Social?"was a panel discussion which investigated the uses of social networking and proved to be exceptionally popular among agent participants. Terry Dale surprised speakers and panelists throughout the conference with questions that were "tweeted"from agents in the audience to his offstage "tweet spot”. In addition, Cruise Critic editor Carolyn Spencer Brown blogged live throughout the three general sessions on panel, industry and speaker topics.

In a cruise3sixty keynote address that was as entertaining as it was inspiring, adventurer and business executive Alison Levine, who only three days previously had returned from leading a successful ascent of Mt. Everest by American women, told delegates "fear is okay, complacency is what will kill you."Applying what she has learned in mountain climbing, she advised agents to "take prudent risks"and, when a task seems impossible, to "break it down into smaller parts,"much as she and her team of climbers had to do when every step on Everest required ten deep breaths of oxygen.

cruise3sixty delegates also heard from Craig E. Campbell, lieutenant governor of Alaska, who pledged the state’s commitment to making the selling of cruises to Alaska easier and more profitable; to Sean Arena, of Sabre Travel Network, who pointed out the similarities of composing electronic music and the technology driving cruise booking systems today; and to Monique Moyer, who spoke of balancing her role as executive director of the Port of San Francisco with being a wife and mother and about San Francisco’s port redevelopment projects.

Throughout the course of the conference, agents participated in 15 CLIA seminars to earn up to 135 credits toward CLIA Certification as well as workshops, destination briefings, and cruise line product demonstrations and booking demo’s. CLIA training seminars taught a total of 2,425 participants, with many agents taking more than one course. On June 5, during a gala dinner that featured entertainment by Blue Man Group, presented by Norwegian Cruise Line, and 42Five, a featured act offered by Celebrity Cruises, CLIA’s Cruise Industry Hall of Fame inducted four new members: Micky Arison, Carnival Corp. plc’s chairman and CEO; the travel industry educators, marketers and travel agents Doris and the late Phil Davidoff; Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso; and the Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH).

Ship inspection opportunities during the conference included: Holland America Line’s Volendam, Ryndam and Zuiderdam; Silversea Cruises’ Silver Shadow; Royal Caribbean International’s Radiance of the Seas; Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess; and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Mercury. The vessels hosted a total of 1,977 agents.

Immediately following cruise3sixty, participants were asked to comment on CLIA’s Facebook Fan page on what they enjoyed most about this year’s cruise3sixty conference. Some of the early responses included: "I loved how engaged the agents were in learning about all aspects of the cruise industry,""It was my first time and I really enjoyed meeting all the interesting people from all over the world!""Still too ‘kewl’ for school. You hit it dead on with Terry’s Tweets and the theme of social networking and mentoring,""It was a great show and the venue fantastic!"

cruise3sixty 2011 will be held April 14-17 in Fort Lauderdale at the Broward County Convention Center at Port Everglades. Registration is open as of June 9, with Priority Preview registration rates, available only until July 4. Priority registration rates begin at only $89 for CLIA members who are either Certified or enrolled in CLIA Certification. Non-Certified CLIA member rates are $109 and non-CLIA member agents can register for $169. Early Bird rates are valid July 5 - October 1 and start at $109. For more information and registration,

Note to Editors: Photos from cruise3sixty 2010 are available upon request.

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