by Tom Drake, January 13, 2022
Charles Sylvia, CLIA's vice president of trade relations, restates the travel association confusion.
During a visit to Vicki Freed's Coffee Talk with Travel Planners, Charles Sylvia, CLIA's vice president of trade relations, pleaded with the travel agents to try and talk their customers out of canceling the cruise by doing his job.
What is his and CLIA's job? Their job is to push back against the CDC with more tools than a press release that admits they are perplexed by the CDC's decision to list the cruise industry as Level Four. The CDC has listed 80 countries as a Level Four, so why should the cruise industry be left out.
The industry should be left out because the positivity numbers are far below any state or country. The industry should be left out because they have stricter protocols and testing procedures than any country or state or sporting or entertainment event.
Here are Sylvia's comments to travel advisors. "Folks, we've done a lot of work," he said. "We've come together as an industry, and we've got this figured out right. So what we need from you, and what we need you to do with your clients because I know that they're calling with concerns, what we need from you is confidence and empathy and for you to speak with your clients in an informed way." "The first thing I want to ask you, because I myself am a 28-year travel advisor, please, when they call, and they state that they're looking to cancel, please, first and foremost, ask them not to cancel. Ask them not to cancel and explain why." "There's so much great information, and it's at your fingertips. We shared it with not only all of the hosts of the franchises and large agencies out there but for all of our travel trade members, so that you are empowered with this information and you can speak confidently with empathy and in an informed way."
Here is the problem. Customers are calling to cancel because they have only heard one side of the story. If CLIA had shared that information with the customers through the media as information became available, then perhaps travel advisors would not have to resell the cruise. It is time for CLIA to start telling the other side.