The fifth annual CLIA River Cruise Convention sailed into the port of Amsterdam with an attendance just short of 250 delegates. The event was a showcase for the fastest growing segment of the cruising market. Delegates had a highly educational programme comprising one-to-one meetings, business sessions, a trade fair and a variety of ship visits.
The event showcased seven ships: A-Rosa Viva, CroisiEurope’s LaFayette, Scenic Opal, Amadeus Silver, Uniworld’s River Empress, and AMA Waterways’ Ama Certo. Agents were hosted for overnight stays aboard, together with lunches and dinners.
Sharon Jordan,Uniworld was in attendance on-board River Express one of their smaller ships but still has that boutique feeling of elegance and luxury.
The delegates learned the latest trends in river cruising, including that 28 new ships were launched in 2015, with 23 already planned for 2016. The total numbers taking a river cruise last year rose to 1,101,954, with the UK market showing growth of 10% to 139,400 passengers.
The average UK person takes 2.5 trips abroad each year, with 37% booked less than three months in advance and paying an average price of £1,495 per person. The trend is towards all-inclusive models and the future is bright. Agents were advised to offer the right product to the right market segment, and that selling river cruises is good for the bottom line.
CroisiEurope is now the largest river cruise operator in Europe. This family-owned company was established 40 years ago and has a high reputation for fine dining and wines, a la France. The cruise line had its 84-passenger ship Lafayette in Amsterdam.
Helen Roberts,Head of Consumer & Retail at GfK ,revealed the results of a recent market research survey.The question posed was “What people currently think about river cruising”. The results show 64% it as relaxing,36% see it as hassle-free,58%see it as expensive and 37% think it’s for people like me .
Great market information for any agent planning to grow their river cruising sales.