Almost a third of delegates at this weekend’s Clia Conference in Southampton will be attending their first event hosted by the association.
The conference will welcome 550 delegates and will feature a recorded interview with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings boss Frank Del Rio, in addition to in-person presentations by Royal Caribbean International vice-president EMEA Ben Bouldin, P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow and MSC Cruises UK and Ireland managing director Antonio Paradiso.
Conference sessions and events will be held on board three ships: P&O Cruises’ Iona, MSC Cruises’ MSC Virtuosa and Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas.
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A ‘specialist operators’ session will include leading figures from the river, luxury and expedition sectors, showcasing opportunities for ocean specialists to diversify.
The interview with NCLH chief executive Del Rio will feature across the first two days of the conference and will cover topics including the sector’s restart and the company’s sustainability drive.
Andy Harmer, Clia UK and Ireland managing director, said: “As the global leader of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Frank Del Rio has been on the journey in getting the right protocols in place. He will also talk about the liberalisation of border restrictions and the industry getting back to normal.”
Confirming about 30% of delegates at the Love Cruise-themed conference would be attending their first Clia event, Harmer said: “We’ve really tried to keep the programme at a level where we feel it benefits the agent delegates the most.
“We want to give practical and high-level advice for when they go back to their workplace.”
Harmer promised there would be “some surprises” and said: “The one thing people always love about the Clia Conference is seeing the collaboration in the industry and the passion we have for cruise.
“Our advice is to be open-minded, do not come with pre-conceived ideas, and listen to the content. This is the biggest cruise industry gathering in the UK. Talk to the sponsors, the cruise lines and other agents.”
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