Cruise industry to get boost in 2007

New ships with more capacity and new ports will lead to more people selecting cruises as their vacation of choice in2007, according to Maurice Zarmati, Vice President of Worldwide Sales for Carnival Cruise Lines.Zarmati will join fellow cruise industry specialists from Norwegian CruiseLine, Norwegian Coastal Voyage and Holland America Line, Inc., on a panelentitled, ‘Cruising Into Big Sales,’ on Monday, December 4, 2006 from 10:15a.m. until 12:30 p.m., PST at The Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

The panel is part of the three-day Travelpalooza, a programsponsored by, Inc. (GTI), that is designed to helpindependent and home-based travel agents learn the latest marketing tacticsand travel trends. Twenty-five percent of GTI’s bookings are for cruises.

There is a minimum of 150 million people who will vacation this year alone.Only 44 million have cruised, leaving the rest ripe for cruise company’smarketing messages. And, based on the Cruise Line industry Association’ssecond quarter numbers, more of those people are already taking to theseas, with 11.67 percent more people enjoying cruises than the same timelast year.

A trend that will continue, according the Terri Burke, Vice President ofBusiness Development for Norwegian Cruise Line, will be consumers’ growingoptions on how they book their trips as well as when, where and how theywant to travel. Among those options are independent and home-based travelagents who have the same abilities as the corporate agencies without the overhead.

“Three years ago, we had no home-based revenue credit, no dedicatedresources and no recognition of this independent side of the travelindustry,” Burke said. “Today we have an entire department with a dedicatedmanager and director, revenue credit to business development marketers andother marketing and access tools created so the independent travel agentcan better promote our cruises.”