Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2020

A collaborative spirit Chiara Giorgi of Seatrade Cruise Events highlights the importance of collaboration for the successful restart of cruising E arly experiences may be key for a speedy recovery, says Chiara Giorgi, the global event director for Seatrade Cruise Events. “The pace at which the industry recovers will depend on how quickly passenger confidence returns and how much those first cruisers enjoy the new experience. “It’s pleasing to see traditional competitors working on solutions together throughout the crisis,” says Giorgi. “The sense of community has always been very apparent in the cruise industry, not just between cruise lines but within the port and destination community and elsewhere. “Thousands of individuals, groups, companies and associations around the world are fighting personal battles but still find time to give something extra for the benefit of others.” This giving spirit is epitomised by Tom Anderson and Larry Stauffer of grassroots group Destinations Together, who Giorgi says “have a pure love for our industry and want to fuel the conversation to get people thinking and working to find solutions”. Communities around the world are busy preparing for cruising to restart – readying ports, destinations and attractions to welcome guests safely while also maintaining passenger appeal. “The smaller communities that are highly dependent on tourism have an opportunity to really shine, their size makes them more agile in responding to the required health and safety measures,” says Giorgi. “Cruise lines, Cruise Lines International Association, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association and countless other industry groups have been busy engaging with governments and other public bodies to understand and agree the terms for restarting cruise operations,” she continues. “There’s still a lot of work to be done. The destination experience will be different, at least initially, and not just for passengers but also for crews who need their time ashore.” This dialogue may be awkward on occasions, particularly with the few cities and countries that seemingly turned their backs on the cruise industry’s plight at the onset of the pandemic. “There’s a symbiotic relationship between the cruise companies and their ports of call. Even the larger cities, that may have historically worried about unmanaged tourism, perhaps now appreciate the positive contribution that cruising provides,” says Giorgi. “They’ve had an opportunity to rewrite how tourism can work in their city and where cruising fits in their tourism mix.” The cruise industry will need to effectively communicate the facts about how it has been impacted by and responded to Covid-19. “We have to positively influence public opinion where it may have originally been misled, but I can’t wait to get back on a cruise ship and travel around a world of amazing experiences,” says Giorgi. CFR 2 0 9 COVER STORY