Norwegian cruise line Havila Voyages

Havila Voyages UK boss Matthew Valentine: ‘Strong cruise sales point to a fruitful year ahead’

Havila Voyages UK country manager Matthew Valentine surveys the year ahead and highlights why sustainability is high on the line’s agenda.

It might have been a challenging couple of years for the industry but reports of strong sales throughout January confirm that us Brits remain desperate to dust off our passports and get back out there.

Covid took away our holidays, our ability to jump on a plane to explore the world and our opportunity to learn about new cultures, places and foods.

It will be interesting to see in the coming months whether holidaymakers’ requirements have changed over the last two years. I believe they have and that the changes will prove beneficial for our industry.

Havila Voyages expedition cruise line, Matthew Valentine
Havila Voyages’ Matthew Valentine says the line’s Norway cruises are proving popular

There will always be a segment of the market that wants a cheap break in the sun, but the pandemic has left many people with a strong desire to tick off their bucket-list experiences.

Holidaymakers want to make up for lost time. There’s nothing like being locked down to give people the opportunity to plan that longed-for trip down the Nile or a search for the Northern Lights.

Celebrations will be taking place around the world as many families are able to reunite this year, but we haven’t forgotten being separated from loved ones during the pandemic and the need to spend time with them will be with us for some time to come.

It’s important to remember that multi-generational groups book far in advance and can prove quite lucrative to those travel agents who are prepared to put the work in.

Sustainability key to Havila Voyages

The last two years have seen people spend more time outside, enjoying the world in which we live. Early in the pandemic some thought that environmental issues would become less important to many, but the opposite has turned out to be true.

In my view, customers have become more passionate about their environment, and sustainability has moved up the agenda.

For us at Havila Voyages, protecting the environment is at the very heart of our business. The first of our four brand new ships launched in December and was fitted with the world’s largest battery packs.

As a result, she can sail through fjords and other vulnerable places, emission free for up to four hours at a time. However, we don’t intend to stop there. Longer term, our goal is to be able to offer an emission-free voyage.

When it comes to being in the great outdoors, there is nowhere better to explore than Norway. Combine this with a cruise on a new, more environmentally responsible ship and this could be a real win for many holidaymakers.

Looking ahead, agents will play a crucial role in using their skills, knowledge and expertise to tap into these trends. Get this right and I have no doubt that 2022 will continue to be a bumper year.

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