Last week, the world’s cruise bosses talked about the impact of terrorism. The chairmans of the major cruise lines accepted that atrocities, especially in north Africa and the Middle East, had shrunk the size of Mediterranean, and assumed that conflict in Ukraine had shut the Black Sea to cruises.
The executives met at State of the Industry session at Seatrade Europe conference 2015 edition, held in Hamburg, Germany, 9-11 September.
Chairman of Carnival UK, David Dingle, said they were absorbing those circumstances and could open up new cruise ports, and sail beyond Europe.
The boss of TUI, Wybcke Meier, went so far as to say they had not noticed any effect.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, also MSC Cruises chairman, boasted of cruising’s EURO 40.2 billion contribution to European economy and congratulated Germany for overtaking the United Kingdom to become the second-largest consumer market outside the United States.
Instead of accepting the damage caused to cruising by refugee crisis and terrorism, Royal Caribbean’s executive Dominic Paul blamed the fall in numbers visiting the Mediterranean on visa red tape, especially for travelers from Asia. One in five, he claimed, scrapped visa applications because of the complicated process.
The CEO of Costa Group, Michael Thamm, demanded to stop talks about visas. He suggested to tackle the central problem about the low market penetration of cruiseing - "just 1% of all European holidaymakers".