Travel Agent NewsMore critical than ever for all players to unite and uphold the reputation of cruise industry and become its advocates, say speakers.

CruiseWorld Asia: Travel agents play key role in cruise restart

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CruiseWorld Asia 2020, which kicked off with the first of three webinars Thursday, aims to rebuild travel agents' confidence to sell cruise again.
CruiseWorld Asia 2020, which kicked off with the first of three webinars Thursday, aims to rebuild travel agents' confidence to sell cruise again.

Michael Goh, president of Dream Cruises, has revealed details of the massive amount of behind-the-scenes work that has enabled Genting’s World Dream to resume cruising in Singapore in November.

There is strong long-term growth potential for the cruise sector.– Annie Chang, Singapore Tourism Board

The cruise executive praised the Singapore Tourism Board and Singapore health authorities for their enormous collaborative efforts to get passengers back onboard in a safe and healthy environment.

Goh was speaking at the first in a series of CruiseWorld Asia webinars under the theme, "Rebuild: Steering Toward a Safe Cruise Future".

Irene Chua, vice president, group publisher Asia at Northstar Travel Media – organiser of CruiseWorld Asia – said travel agents would play a key role in driving the resumption of cruising in Singapore “and we know they will be ready to do just that”.

Goh, together with panelists Annie Chang, STB's director cruise, policy and planning group; and Jiali Wong, regional manager Asia, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) agreed that rebuilding trust with consumers was the key to a successful restart for cruising in Asia.

Travel agents as cruise ambassadors

The new world of cruising is focused on “fostering the trust” between cruise lines, travel agents and the customer, said Goh.

Travel agents, he said, can become brand ambassadors for the cruise lines by “educating your guests on the high safety standards of cruising and dispel the mindset that cruising is not safe, “which may still be etched in the memory”.

Goh said with the high level of health and safety standards on Genting’s cruise ships, “cruising will probably be the safest way to travel in future”.

He urged travel agents to “do things differently” by re-evaluating customer demographics, distribution channels and digital marketing strategies. Genting would support travel agents with training and consultancy, and sales and marketing tools, he added.

CLIA's Wong said it was now more necessary than ever for the industry to bond together to uphold the reputation of the cruise industry and become its advocates.

She said cruise lines have been working tirelessly with global leading health experts to develop health protocols and restore public confidence in the cruise industry.

While Chang noted that it has been a tough time for the cruise industry, she urged travel industry members to keep sight "of the fact that there is strong long-term growth potential for the cruise sector”.

“As an industry we have only one chance to get it right…but I believe we can confidently say to our customers that cruising is safe and the possibility of an outbreak is now very, very remote.”

Gearing up for safe sailings

Dream Cruises has produced a raft of pre-boarding health and safety measures, including mandatory temperature and health screening, health declarations, contact tracing and passenger Covid-19 tests at the cruise terminal to also include vendors, shore staff and day visitors.

Crew will be quarantined before leaving their home countries and again when arriving in Singapore.

Stringent passenger management will include mandatory online check-in, staggered arrival of guests and self-service check-in kiosks.

Onboard there will be a reduced number of passengers, social distancing, extended meal times, increased number of shows at the theatre, 100% fresh air ventilation and a medical centre staffed by two doctors, including an infection control officer and isolation wards.

Guests will be able to cancel up to 48 hours before sailing and receive a 100% cruise credit.

“We just need to persevere, and evidence will prove everything,” Goh said.

Genting Cruise Lines’ World Dream will restart cruises from Singapore from November 6, while Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas will begin sailing in December.

CruiseWorld Asia's next two travel agent training workshops will be held 13 October and 14 October. Click here to register for the event. 

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