Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman, has been named among the keynote speakers at this year’s Clia Conference in Southampton.

At the trade association’s conference from April 26 to 28, Vago will join Holland America Line president Orlando Ashford and Steve Born, chief marketing officer at Group Voyagers, which markets Globus brands such as Avalon Waterways.

Vago served as the chairman of Clia Europe twice after the board voted in 2015 for him to continue for an extra year. He is now part of the Clia global executive committee.

Clia UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer said: “Pierfrancesco Vago can bring an international feel to the conference.

“We have seen the growth of MSC in the UK, the line has one of the biggest shipbuilding programmes; and [MSC has] clearly put a focus on sustainability.”

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Harmer added that Vago could share his view on where the UK sat compared to other markets in the wider industry.

“There are still a lot of speakers that we have not announced,” he added. “I hope this gives a flavour of the content that we are developing.

“Some of the other speakers we will keep as a surprise on the day.”

Antonio Paradiso, UK and Ireland managing director, said it was likely that Vago would reveal “one or two surprises” on stage.

“He has got a lot of knowledge and I am pretty sure that he will talk about sustainability and all the things that we are doing at [private island] Ocean Cay – MSC Marine Reserve,” he said. “I am pretty confident he will reveal one or two surprises – I will leave that to him.”

B.B King’s Blues Club, an eight piece band which features on eight ships across Holland America Line’s fleet, will make an appearance at the conference’s gala dinner at Southampton Guildhall on April 27.

BB Kings Blue Club, HAL, February 2020

Harmer said: “For the first time ever, the entertainment will be hosted by Holland America Line.

“It gives us an opportunity to have a very different evening. They are all world class musicians.”