Last updated: 04:54 PM ET, Mon July 13 2015

Coast Guard Veteran Now at CLIA's Helm

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) | Theresa Norton | July 08, 2015

Coast Guard Veteran Now at CLIA's Helm

Photo of Thomas P. Ostebo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard

Leadership skills, operations experience, and familiarity with the cruise industry are among the traits that Thomas P. Ostebo brings to his new position as president and CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association.

A 38-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, Ostebo started his new position at CLIA on July 6. He replaces Christine Duffy, who departed to become president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Line.

“I was approached by the search firm (who were) looking for somebody who could bring operational leadership and experience to take the great work CLIA has done over past few years and continue to grow the global organization,” Ostebo said in a phone interview with TravelPulse.

Ostebo achieved the rank of rear admiral in the Coast Guard and most recently served as director of strategic management, supporting strategy, and budget policy for the Coast Guard. Ostebo also served as commander for the Coast Guard 17th District and led operations in Alaska, the Arctic, and North Pacific.

It was in Alaska that he had more hands-on experience with the cruise industry.

“As operational commander in Alaska, I had oversight responsibility for all the maritime activities taking place, and the cruise industry was a big part of that,” Ostebo said. “There are over 1 million cruise passengers a year going to Alaska. My people were the ones who did inspections and oversaw the industry.”

Despite the growing importance of lobbying and complex regulations, CLIA is not lessening its focus on working with travel agents.

“The importance of travel agencies and travel agents themselves has never been more front-and-center with CLIA than it is today,” he said.

In fact, more than 18,000 travel agents have joined CLIA in recent months since the organization launched new individual memberships in January.

“That’s about a 30 to 40 percent more in the U.S., a huge increase from just last year,” Ostebo said. “We are not taking our eye off the ball with travel agents at all.”


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