Royal Caribbean boss pledges support for Thomas Cook

Royal Caribbean boss pledges support for Thomas Cook

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line will not follow Fred Olsen Cruise Lines in ceasing trading through Thomas Cook.

Speaking at an e-tid breakfast event in London this morning, after being inducted into the UK Hall of Fame last night, Richard Fain said his company had a long-term relationship with the UK's largest cruise retailer.

As revealed by travelweekly.co.uk yesterday, Fred Olsen has stopped selling through Cook after it lost its credit insurance following a downgrading by Euler Hermes.
Fain said: "Ours is a long-term business and it depends on long-term relationships across the board. We have had a very long and successful relationship with Thomas Cook and we see no reason why we should vary from that in any way.

"We are confident about their future and we look forward to making a lot of money from them and them from us for years to come."

Fain told the audience that he saw further growth in the UK market despite the ongoing downturn and aims to build on the 21% annual growth it has achieved in recent years. The company now takes 400,000 Brits cruising each year making it the second largest operator.

Fain insisted that the impact of the Costa Concordia sinking would be short-lived and the biggest impact had been among potential customers who had not cruised before.

Asked about agent partnerships and specifically commission he suggested Royal Caribbean will not follow rival Carnival UK in cutting payments to tackle discounting, although he conceded that was one way of achieving that. He said the commercial relations between the operator and the trade were more complex than just commission based and that these are constantly evolving and will continue to evolve.

Fain said the agent distribution channel was highly valued by the operator and the wider industry and one into which a great deal of time and resource it dedicated.

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