Arison heralds safety record as Costa heals

Arison heralds safety record as Costa heals

Carnival Corporation chairman Micky Arison praised the good safety record of the cruise industry saying events are so well publicised precisely because so they are so rare.

Appearing at a media event in London yesterday to reveal the name of P&O Cruises' newest ship, Britannia, Arison fielded questions about the impact of the sinking of Costa Concordia in January last year.

Arison was asked about the future of the brand which he described as "very bright". "It is the number one in Italy, in South America, in France. It is the number two in Spain but gets the highest yields. I think it is a very powerful brand.

"Obviously it had a terrible setback but if you look at a lot of great brands that have had setbacks they have recovered. If you manage it well, give great value, over time they recover.

"Costa has already begun to recover. The studies that we have seen have shown acceptance of the brand has recovered well and it has turned profitable this year. It has not come back 100%, but you would not expect it to come back in a year. In two or three years it will be as strong again."

Pressed to place a figure on the line's recovery in terms of yield or pricing Arison said 40% but admitted he had made that number up based on the perception that it was not yet half way there but it had recovered substantially.

Earlier he praised the overall safety record of the cruise sector. "Look at our safety record over any period of time, it's excellent. The events are highly publicised primarily because they are so rare. It's an extremely safe holiday compared to virtually any other transportation or any other holiday you can take."

New Carnival Corporation chief executive Arnold Donald said the firm saw growth opportunities in many emerging markets, particularly in Asia and China where it has just opened an office and homeports Costa and Princess ships. Australia also continues to grow fast, he said.

But he said he also expected to see growth in the UK having opted to invest £500 million in the largest ever vessel built for the market.

"We are investing in the British cruise market with enthusiasm and optimism and in a market which has huge potential. As a corporation we will look to invest not only in our established markets but the ones that are emerging. But the British will always be a financial pillar for our organisation. Our long term success is linked to our long term success here. This ship symbolises our unique commitment to build ships specifically designed our British guests."

Donald conceded media coverage of events like the Concordia tragedy did have the potential of putting off new to cruise customers, but that anyone who had been on a cruise had the perspective to know that they are one-offs and well managed under the circumstances.

"We have a job to do as an industry to attract new recruits. We certainly think that putting products in place like Britannia is a step in the right direction. There is a resilience in the industry."


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