Costa Crociere (trading as Costa Cruises in the UK), the Italian unit of Carnival Corp. & plc, has decided to cut out travel agents in the UK and to sell cruises through its website and call centre, according to Travel Weekly.
“Costa Cruises confirm that we are introducing a different business model in the UK that will see all passenger bookings made directly through our call centre and online sales platform,” the report said.
“This transition is intended to reflect the evolving state of the UK market, centralising UK operations through a single, dedicated team based in Costa head office in Genoa. All 2016 bookings made by British travel agents will be unaffected and will be managed by those agencies with the full support of the Costa Cruises customer service team," the report quoted the company as saying.
In the view of Cruise Business Online, the cruise industry has been remarkably reluctant to follow a general trend in the travel industry to taking bookings in-house in general and in driving the use of the Internet in selling its product in particular.