GAC VOICES / 10 Dec 2023

Eye on the future: Changing cruise dynamics leading recovery

by Jasem Zaiton

“The global cruise industry has emerged from the serious hit it took during the Covid-19 pandemic. While some operators folded under lockdown, those who survived are coming back with renewed vigour.

“That recovery has not been without changes. Since the sector re-opened in 2021 we have seen shorter itineraries closer to their source market, an increase in domestic cruising, a hike in demand for luxury and expedition experiences - even ‘cruises to nowhere’ giving guests a taste of the full onboard entertainment package. Operators reached out with friendly policies to lure back passengers forced to cancel at short notice – something unheard of pre-pandemic.

Jasem Zaiton Seatrade Europe

This year, the global cruise sector is expected to surpass its 2019 volumes.

“Looking ahead, I would like to see greater involvement of local governments in the development of the sector, as well as the infrastructure to support the business. Cruise must be treated the same way as aviation and other transport sectors, with the private and public sectors working together for mutual benefit.

“Although cruise tourism currently makes a relatively small contribution to overall tourism income, we are looking at a 6-10% annual growth year-on-year worldwide. There is clear commitment to build more and more ships, which is a clear indication that cruise is here to stay despite all the challenges that the sector has been through.”

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Jasem Zaiton is GAC’s Group Marketing Manager – Cruise, working with GAC teams at established and emerging cruise destinations around the world to provide world-class, professional support to ensure smooth sailing for operators and their guests.

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