After an unprecedented nine months without sailing, Royal Caribbean Group is announcing plans to launch “Pay It Forward,” a second phase of its successful RCL CARES program to support its travel advisors as they look to rebuild their businesses after a challenging 2020.
The program makes a $40 million pool of funds available to qualifying travel advisors, who can apply for three-year, interest-free loans of up to $250,000 to keep their businesses focused on a return to growth at a time when the pandemic shows increasing prospects for coming under control.
“We know our travel advisor friends are suffering, too, and we will get through this tough period together, just as we always have,” said Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean Group’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “Our travel partners have stood strong beside us for more than 50 years, and we are determined to be there for them now. We’re going to get to the other side of this challenging time together.”
The pause in cruising has put a financial strain not only on cruise lines, but on travel agencies large and small. And while there is optimism that the travel industry will recover strongly post-pandemic, businesses still need financial wherewithal during this intervening period of slower-than-usual business.
The company said details about the application process for the program would be shared directly with travel advisors in January.