Travel agents looking to introduce a client to the world of cruising have the best luck with river cruises, according to the results of a new report by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
In addition, more than eight out of 10 agents surveyed said that both cruise bookings and spend for 2019 are on the rise.
According to the organization’s latest Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report, nearly four out of five travel agents – 79 per cent – stated that a river cruise is a great way to introduce “new to cruise” travelers to cruising, citing the travel style as “ideal for clients looking for new or different experiences, smaller ships, destination immersion and a relaxed way to see Europe,” CLIA said.
In line with the results, CLIA’s report also found that river cruises in Europe have seen a 53 per cent year-over-year growth to eastern waterways (such as the Rhine, Moselle and Danube, Elbe); a 30 per cent growth to western channels (including the Soane, Seine, Loire) as well as a 24 per cent growth to the south (Douro, Rhone, Dordogne, Garonne, Po).
Rob Huffman, Vice President Sales, USA, Scenic Group said that, “The results of last quarter’s survey were no surprise. We’ve seen tremendous growth for both of our river cruise brands – Scenic and Emerald Waterways – on the traditional European routes like the Danube, as well as on newer routes like the Douro.”
More cruise findings from travel agents
The report also found the following statistics:
- Four out of five travel agents (84 per cent) stated bookings are up when compared to last year. Additionally, 83 per cent reported spending is up, with 28 per cent reporting clients are spending more than 10 per cent compared to a year ago.
- Alaska has been consistently the top growth destination for the last three years, with 67 per cent of travel agents surveyed seeing increased interest in the state.
- Interest in Mediterranean Europe increased jumped from 25 per cent to 42 per cent over the past year, while inquiries regarding South America grew from just nine percent to 20 per cent.
- The majority of travel agents surveyed – 86 per cent – stated that the biggest benefit they offer cruise clients their experience and product knowledge; the second most important factor, cited by 81 per cent of agents surveyed, was their ability to leverage relationships and expertise if something goes wrong.