CLIA inks exclusive pact with FCTG

More than 3,000 consultants in Australia/NZ given opportunity to upskill cruise nous

Credit: Miller Creative

Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) have inked an exclusive partnership to enhance the expertise of the travel giant’s entire consultant and independent network in Australia and New Zealand. Under the arrangement, sellers within each brand and cruise specialists will gain access to CLIA’s cruise industry training.

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The partnership will provide cruise specialists across FCTG leisure brands with: 1) personal development and training operated by CLIA; 2) CLIA resources and toolkit access; 3) access to CLIA reports and insights; 4) a CLIA profile on their system to allow clients to be directed to cruise specialists; and 5) industry recognition as a cruise specialist.

 Joel Katz, Managing Director of CLIA Australasia said the FCTG agreement would add more than 3,000 travel consultants to CLIA’s global cruise community.

“CLIA aims to make its members the most knowledgeable and successful cruise specialists in Australasia, so we are delighted to help build this expertise across the Flight Centre network,” Katz said. “Being a part of the CLIA community gives travel consultants access to an enormous amount of knowledge, online training, resources and live events, all of which gives them greater ability to assist their clients and boost their cruise business.”

“CLIA is recognised as a world leader in cruise industry training for travel consultants, so we’re very excited to have this opportunity for our travel experts to be trained by the best,” said James Kavanagh, CEO of Flight Centre Travel Group Leisure.

“Cruise is one of the fastest growing areas of the travel industry. As more people choose to cruise, it’s timely for us to upskill our consultants to become cruise specialists so they can offer customers the best ‘shop to ship’ service — from helping them plan their trip to securing the best deal on a cruise that suits.”

“This agreement enables FCTG leisure brands to aim for a significantly larger market share and aligns with our strategic goal of becoming a major player in the Australasian cruise sector,” Kavanagh added.

CLIA’s research indicates that the volume of people travelling on cruises globally will exceed the pre-covid high in 2019 by 6% in 2023 and another 14% in 2024.

James Kavanagh, Global Leisure Travel CEO, Flight Centre Travel Group

The luxury Travel Associates brand is embracing the agreement as an industry-first partnership for luxury cruising, according to Rachel Kingswell, General Manager AU & NZ.

“While we already have strong cruise expertise in our network, there is always room for greater engagement and product knowledge and the partnership will provide the opportunity to every single Travel Associates advisor.

“It’s also important to us that every office is recognised as a member of CLIA, not only because we support the industry itself, but also because it’s important for our luxury clients that we do have access and understanding of every cruiseline and itinerary in the market.”

“Certainly the majority of the Travel Associates Cruise Boutique advisors have undertaken all of the CLIA training modules available and are already recognised as Ambassadors, with many also holding Masters status, however,

Rachel Kingswell, GM Travel Associates AU/NZ

we’d like to see that as 100% by the end of the year,” Kingswell added.

Recently, Travel Associates appointed cruise guru Kathy Pavlidis in a dedicated cruise role which will also benefit both the brand and CLIA.

Kingswell continued: “With 70 new ships entering the market in the next 12 months, there is a strong opportunity to sell luxury cruise and it’s important that we recognise that clients will want their trusted TA advisor to have all the knowledge at their fingertips, whether they are a Cruise Boutique or not.”

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