Alan Lam reporting from Madrid
The 8th edition of International Cruise Summit (ICS 2018) is currently under way in the Spanish capital city of Madrid. About 260 delegates from various cruise lines, ports and travel agencies are in attendant.
The main focus of this year’s summit is on how to manage the rapid and seemingly interminable growth of the cruise industry.
One of the principal areas under scrutiny is how to manage port and destination developments in the light of the recent congestion issues experienced by many. Stakeholders are urged to intensify the dialogue among them to help ensuring a more proportionate growth.
With the impending arrival of the likes of Virgin Voyages and Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, there are now more players in the market. The industry is therefore urged to properly manage the thorny issue of competition through dialogue, diversification, and cooperation in order to encourage further growth; otherwise competition will only lead to the unpalatable ticket price reductions, which benefits no one.
Sustainability and environmental protection are among other areas where proper management is called for. In these regards, banning the single-use plastics is merely a token gesture; there needs to be more innovations, better operational practices, and technological advancements to facilitate this, especially in anticipation of the incoming IMO sulphur and GHG emissions control regulations.
In addition, proper management is also needed in terms of berth allocation practices and newbuilding size inflations.
Amidst these discussions, the industry is confident that, barring any unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances, the growth will continue for the foreseeable future.
As always, Cruise Business Review is a main media sponsor of this annual event. Our correspondent is among the attendees. A full analytical report will appear in the Spring 2019 issue.