2024 is ‘pivotal year’ for river cruise, says Clia river chair

2024 is going to be a “pivotal year” for river cruise as the sector experiences a “tangible resurgence” following the pandemic, according to the chair of Clia’s river cruise working group.

Speaking to 540 delegates at this year’s Clia RiverView conference in Amsterdam, Amawaterways managing director Jamie Loizou referenced data produced by Mintel which found 51% of UK adults are likely to book a holiday abroad this year, up from 43% last year.

He encouraged agents to capitalise on the increased desire to travel abroad, saying the cruise sector is “booming”, while river cruise provides “small ships which equals big opportunities”.

“River cruising has seen a surge in demand, and although until fairly recently the demand from the UK had taken longer to bounce back than other cruise sectors, we have now seen that resurgence has culminated in an increase in sales,” he said.

Loizou said the value proposition of river cruise is “underpinning” the growth in the sector, as travellers are “more discerning than ever before”.

He added: “With the high quality of service and range of destinations, no section of travel offers more bang for your buck than river cruising.

“You [agents] are in the right place to capitalise on this and to supercharge your business.”

Loizou went on to urge the agents in the audience to immerse themselves in the sector over the three-day conference, and challenged them to each make four river cruise bookings by the end of the month.

He advised agents to ask themselves three questions when considering which river cruise lines to work with as a “springboard for success”.

He said: “You must ask yourselves the following: which river cruise lines offer a product which matches my client demographic; which destinations do my clients like to travel to and which lines match; and which river cruise lines can support me and my business?”

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