One of the cruise industry’s greatest benefits has always been the movability of its assets, which has let it maximise the most profitable and passenger-satisfying markets and avoid danger like hurricanes and civic unrest. This tenet remains the same as the industry extends its reach to the global scale, and new markets are seeing high yields, demand and ticket pricing as cruising becomes accessible around the world.
What does this mean for markets that once dominated the industry, such as the Caribbean? The FCCA focuses on creating win/win scenarios, and this is one of them. The cruise industry is certainly no less committed to the Caribbean. The Caribbean is still the overwhelming leader in capacity, and though the percentage of market share has decreased, passenger calls have increased because of the cruise lines’ constant drive to build new ships. Cruise lines also continue to invest in the Caribbean, as seen by Carnival Corporation’s recent announcement regarding a cruise destination in Haiti and Norwegian Cruise Line’s port development in Belize.
That all bodes well for the Caribbean’s current status as a cruise market, but what about its future? That partly depends on how the destinations themselves plan for it. The cruise industry shows that having a successful business model – such as the Caribbean’s sun, beach and sand – is never simply enough; innovation and differentiation are key. Passengers want constantly new products, and the cruise industry continues to offer them through its different brands, such as Royal Caribbean International’s skydiving simulator and Holland America Line’s onboard show kitchen that features celebrity chefs.
We work with the Caribbean to do the same – to create new products that become synonymous with their particular brand. St. Maarten’s bustling cityscape is different than St. Lucia’s lush landscape, and it is important for destinations to showcase their uniqueness and history, to give passengers a reason to visit not just the Caribbean, but specific destinations throughout the multiple itineraries. We assist destinations with this by providing the knowledge and contacts to support the constant growth needed.
For example, our 21st annual Cruise Conference & Trade Show will gather over 100 of our Member Line executives, presidents and CEOs to meet with about 1,000 tourism stakeholders. This will present a chance for the stakeholders to target cruise line decision makers, with one-on-one meetings and social functions, while also learning important information about the industry, such as its current events, how to develop and sustain a successful shore excursion, and how to work with the cruise lines to develop a cruise destination.
If the Caribbean employs the cruise lines’ innovative business model, its opportunities grow exponentially. It will continue to drive heavy traffic, both new and past passengers, from the industry’s predominantly North American market, but it will also source freshly converted cruisers from the global markets. After all, cruisers are historically loyal; they begin to sample different cruise products, such as luxury liners, along with multiple destinations. Just as many North American cruisers first sail the Caribbean before taking a Mediterranean cruise, the Caribbean can attract passengers from across the seas. The cruise industry’s global reach offers a chance for destinations to embrace part of the FCCA’s mission statement – to develop productive, bilateral partnerships.
This article appeared in the Itinerary Planning Special Report. To read more articles, you can subscribe to the magazine in printed or digital formats.
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