Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)’s Board of Directors has named Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty as Chairman. Liberty succeeds Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises S.A. who served in the role since January 2021.
“On behalf of the CLIA community including ocean, river, and specialty cruise lines, suppliers, business partners, travel advisers, and agencies, I would like to congratulate Mr. Liberty on his appointment as CLIA chair,” said Kelly Craighead, President and CEO of CLIA.
“Mr. Liberty assumes the chairmanship at a time when the industry is building on the momentum of strong demand and our members are advancing ambitious sustainability initiatives in pursuit of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Mr. Liberty is a highly versatile and strategic leader who will help us build on this resurgence of travel and realize our global operating ambitions.”
Craighead applauded Vago for his leadership over the past three years, “navigating challenging times and creating a solid foundation for the industry’s future growth.”
Liberty became Royal Caribbean Group’s President and CEO in early 2022, following a career spanning nearly two decades in the cruise industry and having served as the company’s Chief Financial Officer for many years. Last year, he drove powerful gains in the Group’s business, becoming one of the top-performing stocks of the year. He stewards three brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea, known for game-changing innovations in their respective industry segments; as well as joint ventures in Germany-based TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, of which the company is a 50% owner.
“I am excited and honoured to lead this organisation as we enter a new era of cruising. With consumer demand continuing to accelerate, we are doubling down on our commitment to
decarbonization and sustainable growth, ensuring that we are not only investing in our oceans and communities, but preserving them for generations of travelers to come,” Liberty said. “I look forward to working with CLIA leadership and our partners around the world to further position cruise vacations as an accessible and responsible option for today’s travelers that create positive ripple effects across the globe.”
Cruise is one of the fastest-growing sectors of travel and tourism and is forecasted to reach 106% of 2019 levels in 2023—with 31.5 million passengers sailing—and approximately 35 million passengers in 2024.
The global chair for CLIA provides leadership to the CLIA Global Executive Committee and the Board of Directors, responsible for establishing the overall strategic direction of the association on behalf of its cruise line members representing 95% of the world’s ocean-going cruise lines. As part of CLIA’s long-term strategy, CLIA member lines have set inspiring sustainability goals, and each year the CLIA member fleet becomes more efficient as member lines embrace new technologies, innovations and, as available, the uptake of sustainable alternative fuels.
CLIA provides an important and unified voice for the global cruise line industry representing cruise lines, suppliers, business partners, and a robust travel advisor community.