Alan Lam reporting from Hamburg
On 6 September, over 600 delegates and more than 260 exhibitors (19 of whom are new to cruise industry) gathered in Hamburg for the first day of the biannual Seatrade Cruise & River Cruise Convention.
The focus of the main panel discussion was firmly on the future of cruise industry in Europe and the evolving challenges. Beside the usual geopolitical and environmental issues, the industry in Europe now finds itself increasingly having to deal with such concerns as over-tourism, Brexit, and the impact of expedition cruise boom.
An impressive panel of industry grandees, with a combined experience of more than 200 years, expounded their views on the dynamism of the cruise industry in Europe and the wider world. They offered advices to stakeholders and suggested ways of facing these challenges.
Innovation and improved communication were two key areas they recommended for overcoming the emerging and persisting challenges. While the industry is at the forefront of innovation, its ability to communicate the message and value of cruising to the wider public is fragmented and leaves a lot to be desired. Much more effort is needed in this regard, not only to win hearts and minds of the public, but also to increase market penetration, which continues to be low and shallow.
A full and insightful report on the discourse will appear in the winter issue of Cruise Business Review.