Royal Caribbean Launches $40 Million Loan Program for Travel Advisors

Royal Caribbean Group is offering three-year, interest-free loans of up to $250,000 to travel agencies under financial stress from the nine-month shutdown of cruising during the pandemic.

The program makes a $40 million pool of funds available to qualifying travel advisors, who can apply for the loans to “keep their businesses focused on a return to growth at a time when the pandemic shows increasing prospects for coming under control,” the company said in a statement.

“Pay It Forward” is the second phase of the RCL Cares program launched in April to support travel advisors and help them navigate the $2 trillion CARES Act. That program received more than 3,000 requests for assistance in its first week alone.

“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 chairman and CEO. “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 company said details about the application process for the program would be shared directly with travel advisors in January.

“The pause in cruising has put a financial strain not only on cruise lines, but on travel agencies large and small,” Royal Caribbean Group said. “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.”

Fain has been reaching out to travel agents regularly during the shutdown, posting videos that continue to offer reassurance that “there is hope on the horizon, and we will get through this together.”

Royal Caribbean Launches $40 Million Loan Program for Travel Advisors

Hongxia Sun