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Exhibition booths at the 30th annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference and exhibition, which opened on Monday at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Photos: Manish Shah

MIAMI, USA — The 30th annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference and exhibition opened on Monday at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The show runs through Thursday, March 13.

The annual gathering usually draws around 11,000 attendees, but UBM, owner and organizer of Cruise Shipping Miami, anticipates a jump of more than 30 percent in visitors and delegates to the three-day exhibition and four-day conference. The trade show, which is almost 10 percent larger than last year, features 140 new exhibitors for a total of nearly 900 exhibiting companies from 127 countries.

“No one could have predicted 30 years ago that from a meeting of 150 cruise executives in a hotel in New York that Cruise Shipping Miami would grow to become the industry’s premier annual event,” said Daniel Read, director of UBM’s Cruise Event Portfolio. “The conference sessions, state of the global cruise industry panels, emerging products zone and cruise trends theater all will address issues and developments that will shape the cruise industry of the future.”

Cruise Shipping Miami kicked off on Monday with the World Cruise Tourism Summit, a series of roundtable discussions led by industry experts.

The conference officially opens on Tuesday, with the “State of the Global Cruise Industry” plenary session featuring the top executives from the world’s largest cruise corporations: Carnival Corporation & plc, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises.

The session also features Katty Kay, anchor of “BBC World News America,” as the event’s first moderator from outside the cruise industry.

New for 2014 are three additional “state of the global cruise industry” panels led by cruise line chief executives addressing trends and developments in the world’s major cruise regions: the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

The exhibition, which covers all four halls of the Miami Beach Convention Center, officially opens Tuesday morning and closes Thursday afternoon.

Represented in the trade show are the world’s largest shipbuilders, 400 destinations, cutting-edge information technology providers, ship equipment suppliers and entertainment companies. New this year is an interactive Food and Beverage Pavilion focusing on the latest in shipboard culinary trends, products and equipment. Other industry sectors include ship design and refurbishment, ship services and hotel operations.

The exhibition features trade delegations from Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Spain and Turkey.

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