The cruise industry must be proactive in trying to work with destinations to avoid strict levies being imposed, Clia’s new president and chief executive has said.

Kelly Craighead, who will address UK agents at the Clia Conference this week, took up her role on January 1 and has pledged to focus on further improving cohesion within the cruise industry.

Citing the city of Amsterdam, which introduced a daily €8 tax for cruise passengers, Craighead said: “It is so important to work at a local level in a world where public coffers are shrinking, and lawmakers are always looking for opportunities to generate revenue.

“With the nature of the [upcoming] European elections and the state of geo-politics currently, there will be knock-on effects.

“Places, like Amsterdam, are unduly looking at cruise passengers in a way and not looking at day trippers.

“We need to find areas of commonalities with these lawmakers.”

She also added: “We need to have a proactive agenda as opposed to a reactive one.”

Previously, Craighead was the executive director of the National Travel and Tourism Office at the US Department of Commerce from 2011 and 2017. She has worked under two US presidents – Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – during her career.

“I was trying to attract visitors to the US, where we work in public and private partnerships which come together around initiatives in tourism,” she said.

“My role introduced me to a lot of tourism perspectives from around the world.

“Given that Clia works to protect that freedom to operate for our cruise line members I think I bring that vantage point of how to think about the industry from the perspective of someone serving in government.”