Costa Concordia disaster spells long-term ‘disaster’ for industry’s reputation

By February 3, 2012Uncategorized

A hundred years since the sinking of the Titanic, the world was shocked by spookily similar scenes as the Costa Concordia hit rocks off the coast of Italy.The tale of the Titanic is one of recent history’s saddest stories. The recollections of survivors trickled out gradually over the years and were famously immortalised in the 1997 film.

The difference between 1912 and now though is the immediacy of news and therefore the immediacy of the disaster’s impact.

Terrified Costa Concordia passengers caught the moments of confusion, upset and hysteria on video phone images that were soon sent all over the world. They called loved ones unsure as to what the following hours held for them. When they reached shore they facebooked and tweeted tales of bravery and cowardice.

The cruise liner’s captain Francesco Schettino, dubbed ‘Captain Coward’, found the world very quickly turned against him. In stark contrast, the coastguard’s defiant message to the captain turned him into a hero with his words immortalised on t-shirts and other items sold across the world.

The cruise liner’s owners have been slammed for offering 11,000 Euros per passenger compensation and launching an offer in the days after the tragedy offering survivors 30% off future cruises.

The ramifications of this disaster have far wider implications than simply ‘Captain Coward’ or Costa Cruises; at a time when they can ill afford it, the cruise industry in general is facing a massive blow to its reputation. The 1997 film Titanic undoubtedly planted the seed of doubt in many people’s minds and now, almost 15 years on, this will also have a long lasting effect.

Cruise bookings are down 30% than they were at this time last year. Cruise buyers are hunting now for the lowest prices and Royal Caribbean International and Cruise UK have suspended UK marketing. The next move the industry makes will be the most vital in terms of rebuilding its reputation.