By Ron Howells • 29 September 2021 • 12:26
Cruising industry expects a return to 80% of operations by the end of 2021
The cruise industry said it expects a return to 80% of its operations by the end of 2021.
The worldwide cruise industry is projected to have 80% of its ships operating with passengers again by the end of December, with 220 ocean-going vessels so far scheduled with itineraries.
Pierfrancesco Vago, an MSC Cruises executive chairman and global chair of cruise trade body Clia, said the sector had 16% of its total fleet operating in June this year.
The figure now it is at 56% and is projected to be 80% by end of December, said Vago to the Seatrade Cruise Global conference, speaking in person in Miami, as well as online.
The chairman told delegates that the industry carried 30 million passengers annually in pre-pandemic times but since operations resumed in summer 2020, it has taken just two million customers on cruises.
“We have emerged as one of the world’s safest holidays. The future is bright for all of us here,” he said, hailing the industry’s work with private and public sectors around the world to introduce strict health and safety protocols.
However, he added that bookings for winter are being weakened because the vaccination programmes in the southern hemisphere are lagging behind those in the north.
“Spring 2022 bookings are coming back and 2023 is better; stronger volumes are coming in,” he said.
Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean Group, chairman and chief executive, told the conference that he expects his company’s ships in core markets to be back at 100% occupancy by end of this year.
He said there had been a lot of confusion about cancellations and cruise credits so he said it was “very important to get the fly-wheel going” and resume cruises ahead of the key wave period for bookings.
“We need that period of stability; getting more ships operating is a good way to do that,” he said. Also, word of mouth is important; people are coming back from these cruises and raving about them.”
Arnold Donald, Carnival Corporation & plc president and chief executive, said the sector is heading for a “bright future” but warned there are “potholes and detours” on the way.
.Arnold pointed out that the sector had 30 million passengers pre-Covid, compared to a potential market of half a billion holidaymakers around the world.
He offered advice about the new venture to Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, saying: “Listen to your prospective guests and listen to travel agents; they will guide you.”
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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