Cruising takes off
Strong sales in 1999 have made travel agents optimistic that cruise sales will swell in the new millennium. A new study shows that most travel agents selling cruise packages to North American clients are very optimistic about their business next year. With the growing bulge of 50-plus travelers a natural market for cruise vacations, it’s not hard to see why they’re upbeat on shipboard holidays.
Almost 85 percent of agencies surveyed believe that their cruise bookings will increase in 2000, and about one in four expect substantial gains. Forty-nine percent said cruise sales exceeded expectations in 1999. In addition, cruise sales among travel agencies affiliated with the Cruise Line International Association moved up again last year, now accounting for 50 percent of all vacation sales.
The study also shows that cruise sales are made to over half (58 percent) of the customers who express an interest. Of those customers, about four in 10 are first-timers. Seven-day cruises are most popular, while three- and four-day cruises outsell cruises of more than 10 days.