IGLTA Announces Partnership with the Cruise Lines International Association

IGLTA and CLIA Organizations join forces to increase visibility, cross-promotion and joint membership.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla., March 10, 2009 — The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) are proud to announce a new cooperative agreement that will bring the two organizations together on a variety of educational, marketing and member recruitment opportunities.

Under the new agreement, IGLTA and CLIA will not only exchange memberships, but also work together to identify prospective members and joint visibility opportunities in domestic and international markets. Both organizations will support and recognize each other as industry partners at their respective events and annual conventions, including registrations and trade show exposition space.

“With a growing and diversifying membership, IGLTA and its leaders have been focused on increasing the organization’s strategic ties within the travel industry, and this new partnership with CLIA is a major component of that continued outreach,” said IGLTA Executive Director John Tanzella. “I have no doubt that our working together is going to mean many great things for both our membership rosters and the industry at large.”

Created in 1975 by approval of the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission, CLIA is the world’s largest cruise industry trade organization. Today, over 16,000 North American travel agents are registered members. The organization’s 23 member cruise lines sail the world and source guests globally, and these cruise lines represent over 97% of the cruise capacity marketed within North America . Programmatically, CLIA is engaged in travel agent training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and desirability of cursing. The organization also participates in the regulatory and policy development processes for the cruise industry while supporting measures that foster safe, secure and healthy cruise ship environments.

“The gay and lesbian community is very important to the cruise industry, and we look forward to working with IGLTA to promote cruises for all who love to travel,” said Robert Sharak, CLIA executive vice president, marketing and distribution. “The cruise industry has shown tremendous growth over the last twenty years or more in part because the variety of cruise vacations has exceptional appeal for a diverse audience. There is a cruise for every taste, interest and budget, and all travelers are made to feel welcome.”

In January 2009, CLIA reported an optimistic outlook for its industry for the remainder of what is already an economically challenging year around the globe, citing (among many other positive indicators) a still-solid popularity among consumers for cruising, $4.8 billion USD in new ship construction, a diversification in global and “close to home” ports and destinations, and strong growth statistics that have followed the cruise industry through a number of economic downturns since the 1980s.

“There is no doubt that 2009 represents an uncertain environment, not only for CLIA members but for all industries and consumers,” said Terry L. Dale, CLIA’s president and CEO. “However, CLIA members are confident that they will weather the challenges and emerge stronger than ever, as they have before. This is an industry that plans ahead and invests in the future, as evidenced by the impressive number of new ships on order through 2012. The remarkable diversity and variety of cruises give consumers a unique opportunity to find a vacation that fits their budget even during these economic downturns, and we expect that North Americans, Europeans and travelers from all over the world will respond positively.”

Earlier this month, IGLTA released similarly optimistic findings demonstrating the steady strength of the gay and lesbian travel market despite economic conditions that are causing many consumers to alter their spending habits. According to the organization’s press release, which quotes data collected online by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, gay and lesbian travelers continue to vacation in greater numbers than many of their counterparts in the marketplace today. Of particular note is the finding that this niche — which is characteristically brand loyal to gay and lesbian “friendly” companies — is currently buoyed by a growing market power and a higher than average amount of discretionary income.

“When considered side by side, the current findings and projections about the cruise industry and the gay and lesbian travel market suggest a natural partnership between IGLTA and CLIA,” Tanzella said. “Though no industry, organization or single consumer is exempt from the economic downturn, opportunities for growth still exist, and I’m convinced that our two organizations working more closely will demonstrate that.”

IGLTA is the world’s leading authority, resource and representative of gay and lesbian travel. Its membership is located in 55 countries around the world and consists of accommodations, airlines, tour operators, travel agents, tourism office, media and other key players in the tourism industry. IGLTA works to help the tourism industry attract gay and lesbian consumers and learn more about the gay and lesbian market. Since its founding in 1983, IGLTA has expanded its international influence from just 25 members to over 2,000.

My personal note in regards to this wonderful news announcement and joint partnership. There are currently many great cost values and promotions on many of the various cruise lines. When selecting a particular Cruise and the ports of destinations, please be aware that not all ports of call are GLBT friendly and  in some counties our life style is not accepted. The port and and or the country maybe on your “list of places” to visit and experience. Just be aware of this issue. Make the most of the experience enjoy the sites and experience but be aware.