Cruise market growth threatens destination Europe


A sustained growth in cruise sales in the United States could threaten traditional European holidays according to new figures from a survey of US travel agents. New and larger ships are being launched and marketed aggressively, despite the economic downturn, according to Arnie Weissman, editor of Travel Weekly.

Speaking at the ETOA conference in London, he said ocean cruises were big-ticket items with large commissions for travel agents and that cruises from home ports in the US and Caribbean were being promoted as more attractive than traditional, land-based vacations in Europe.

A new detailed report on the travel market in the US showed that 80 percent of travel agents had seen their revenues decline by an average of 26 percent in 2008. Successful agents were seeing the recession as an opportunity to expand their range of services, rather than as the time to slash costs.