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News 05.11.15

Cruise sector must ‘take leap of faith’

Patrick Whyte

CRUISE LINES shouldn’t be afraid to be bold in a bid to attract new customers. Speaking as part of a panel debate on

how the cruise industry was innovating, Stuart Leven, managing director UK and Ireland at Royal Caribbean International, said that cruise lines should trust their instincts. “You can’t always ask the consumer

what they want – you have to take a leap of faith sometimes,” he said. “At Royal, we put skydiving machines

on ships… we spend more on them [our ships] than most [other lines].” Leven also cautioned against cruise

lines racing to the bottom when it comes to pricing. He said that the cheapest price did

not necessarily represent the best deal and that customers were looking for different things. Toby Shaw, director of marketing and

PR at Celebrity Cruises, said the industry needed to better explain that cruising was as varied as a traditional holiday. “Consumers feel that cruising is just

one type of holiday,” he warned. Lisa McAuley, UK commercial director

at Silversea, said that some of the line’s customers did not necessarily see themselves as cruisers. “The diversity of our expedition

product… brings people into the Silversea brand. The expedition cruisers don't see themselves as cruisers; they see themselves as explorers.” She added that it was also important

for cruise lines to differentiate themselves when it came to

VISITOR NUMBERS Japan’s global arrivals soar 49% April Hutchinson

JAPAN HAS been celebrating smashing its visitor arrival targets. In 2013, the government set what was

thought to be an ambitious target of 20 million visitors by 2020, but by the end of this year alone, Japan is likely to hit around 19.9 million visitors. Japan National Tourism Organization

08 05.11.2015

(JNTO) said global visitor numbers were already up 49% year-on-year for January to September 2015. The sharp rise has been attributed to the cheaper yen and airfares. “Japan has long been considered a

bucket list destination, with real desire and demand for people to travel there, but at the moment, with the weak yen and great value airfares in the market,

A recent JNTO event

people are realising now is a great time to book,” said Kylie Clark, head of marketing and communications at JNTO. She said that next year Japan would

The industry must act on instinct to attract new customers, argued Royal Caribbean’s Stuart Leven

communicating with the travel trade. “I’m astounded by the amount of

collateral the cruise industry produces,” she said. “It’s really difficult to get [heard with]

your message to the trade when they are inundated with offers… It’s how you cut through and get your message across over and above everybody else’s. That's one of the challenges we’ve got.” Attendees also heard from design

and advertising firm Aqueduct which presented results from a consumer trends report. The study revealed the rise of certain

types of trends such as personalisation and mobile. Aqueduct also found that consumers

were not loyal when it came to brands. “With the average traveller still

looking for deals to maximise the value for their money, brand loyalty towards travel companies is comparatively low. Travel brands are now increasingly having to find new ways of rewarding loyalty,” the report said. Only one in five overseas travellers

use preferred travel operator brands and only one in eight use preferred accommodation providers.


India faces new domestic tourism threat

Edward Robertson

INDIANS COULD soon find themselves travelling oversees for their holidays as they are priced out of taking a domestic break. Speaking at the WTM World Travel

Leaders: Asia – Inbound and Outbound Travel – Growing Globally debate on Tuesday, Cox & Kings group chief executive Peter Kerkar said he believed the destination could become increasingly expensive if the infrastructure is not created to cater for both an increase in national and international tourism. And even if it coincides with a

predicted increase of affluence for the Indian population, pricing may yet prove too great for the people to holiday at home. Kerkar said: “It becomes cheaper for Indians to travel overseas to places such as Thailand or even Europe than it is to holiday in India.” Pacific Asia Travel Association chief

executive Mario Hardy said countries were ignoring the need for basic infrastructure to support tourists at their own cost. “You’re not thinking beyond five years.

You need to think about 10, 15, 20 years time and build the infrastructure to accommodate this growth.” Hardy also warned destinations of the

danger of only relying on their tried and tested tourist attractions as opposed to developing new ones. He said: “The private and public

sectors need to work together to disperse those tourists into places that need them. “I beg you to please help to disperse them, as some of the destinations are getting really overcrowded.”

start its build up to hosting the 2020 Olympics and 2019 Rugby World Cup. The country is also looking ahead

to new transport developments such as flights from Helsinki to Fukuoka with Finnair from May 2016 and a new route for the Shinkansen, or “bullet train”, for Hokkaido in March. Hokkaido is the second largest,

northernmost and least developed of Japan’s four main islands and the Shinkansen will connect it via the Seikan Tunnel with the Shin-Aomori- Tokyo route.

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