The cruise industry addressed safety issues head-on at its annual industry conference, giving the first question of the annual CEO panel to Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill, who described an in-depth review by Carnival and outside experts to determine how the company and other cruise lines can prevent future incidents. Still, the industry response to the recent Carnival Triumph breakdown and other ship failures at the Cruise Shipping Miami conference were carefully scripted, and specifics about both the cause and future changes were limited.

Cahill stressed the rareness of such incidents and the fact that no one was hurt. But Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein, who also appeared on the panel, said that in the future all lines will likely pay attention not only to strict safety but also to passenger comfort when an incident does occur. Goldstein also addressed a commonly expressed concern that the industry is poorly regularly. Not so, he said. Regardless of where a ship is, it is under the regulation of various agencies at all times.

In keynote addresses, tourism officials stressed the economic impact of the travel-and-tourism industry and the cruise sector in particular. David Scowsill, CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, and Chrstine Duffy, CEO of Cruise Lines International Association, offered these statistics:

  • Global's cruising impact: $36 billion
  • Total global cruise passengers: 20.9 million
  • Total number of international travelers: 1 billion
  • Percentage of world GDP from travel and tourism sector: 9 percent
  • Total world GDP from travel and tourism sector: $6.6 trillion
  • Total number of global jobs from travel and tourism sector: 260 million, or 1 in 11

Jane Wooldridge is T+L's Cruise Editor.