One million UK and Irish travellers cruised in first half of 2023, says Clia

About one million travellers from the UK and Ireland took a cruise in the first half of 2023, according to new data from Clia.

The figure represents a 15% rise in cruise passenger numbers compared to the first six months of 2019, and shows the UK is a “front runner in excellence” within the cruise sector, according to Clia president and chief executive Kelly Craighead.

Speaking to Travel Weekly during a media event in London on Monday, Craighead praised the recovery of the UK cruise sector, saying the UK is valuable as both a source market and a destination.

More: Agents’ interest in cruise at an all-time high, says Clia chief

“It is a privilege to be here and it signifies how important the UK is because it is a destination as well as a market, which makes it so valuable,” she said.

“It is an auspicious day to be here because it marks one year since Clia first met with the UK government which demonstrates the arc we have seen here.

“We know how important cruising is and the work we all do in connecting people with people and people with places and it’s great to know the government recognises the contribution tourism makes and the value of this amazing sector.”

Craighead went on to say that although the UK is one of the fastest global cruise markets to recover from the pandemic, there is “still a lot to do” to make cruising a leading travel product.

“Tourism is such a powerful economic generator and job creator and which we are expecting to reach historic levels this year, but it is still a small piece of the travel puzzle and we need to introduce cruise to a wide range of travellers, whether it be river, ocean or both,” she said.

“There is still a lot to do and I would encourage all travel advisors to work with Clia to give them the tools and confidence to sell cruise.”

Clia UK & Ireland managing director Andy Harmer went on to say Clia’s 2024 Riverview conference sold out within six days of being on sale, showing the appetite agents have to learn.

“Selling cruise has never been more popular,” he said.

“In 2022, we put our 2023 Riverview conference tickets on sale for Vienna and they sold out within three months, but earlier this year, we put our 2024 Riverview conference tickets on sale for Amsterdam and they sold out within six days.

“It just goes to show how much travel agents want to get involved.

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