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Expedition Cruise Network welcomes new members

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The Expedition Cruise Network (ECN) – a new B2B membership organisation designed to connect cruise lines and agents – has welcomed three new members.

Seabourn, Silversea and Heritage Expeditions have joined the group, which launched in April. In total, it now has 14 members.

Meanwhile, more than 250 travel trade professionals have signed up to the trade membership portal.

The network is led by Akvile Marozaite – who has more than 12 years’ experience in the sector – as CEO, and Martin Johnson – founder of Latin Routes and Polar Routes – in the position of chairman.

Johnson said: “It’s incredible to see the initial response of ECN both in terms of new operators joining the network and travel trade members signing up to the platform.

“The expedition cruise sector has gone through a huge amount of development in recent years and we are incredibly proud to form the first dedicated membership organisation.

“Our mission is to connect expedition cruise operators and inform, educate and promote their products to a well-targeted global travel trade community.

“This initial response really demonstrates the opportunity for the network and the appetite of the travel industry to become more connected and informed about expedition cruising.”

Expedition cruise a ‘lucrative sector’

Martin Hay, an independent ocean, river, expedition and group cruise specialist, added: “Getting to know and really appreciating expedition cruising in its many guises is hard for many reasons and ship visits or experiencing an actual product in service is a rare thing.

“There is a sense that small, niche operators working in isolation will always struggle to get real airtime against some of the larger cruise companies.

“For me and other serious independent minded cruise professionals, the ECN presents a real opportunity to expand our appreciation of this fast growing and lucrative sector within the cruise industry.”

Ten travel trade professionals who join the ECN by the end of May could win an “evening of adventure” in June in London, hosted by Lindblad Expeditions.

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