The expedition cruise market has presented the UK travel trade with an “enormous opportunity” to boost its overall cruise business, a new report has found.
Initial findings from the Expedition Cruise Network’s (ECN) inaugural annual survey has revealed 70% of the group’s cruise line members have seen growth in sales this year.
However, despite 56% of cruise members claiming more than 50% of their business comes through travel trade channels, only a third generated more than 20% of their expedition sales through the UK trade, presenting an opportunity for agents to develop their expedition business.
As part of the report, the ECN surveyed travel trade professionals to gain insight into agents’ relationship with the expedition cruise sector.
It revealed most respondents would like to see Africa included more on expedition itineraries with 40% naming the continent as a favourite for new routes, followed by the Indian Ocean (35%) and Asia (27%).
Appetite for expedition cruise ‘unprecedented’
To help agents capitalise on the growing market, the ECN has launched a dedicated online training hub, which features 100 training videos from the group and its members.
ECN chair Martin Johnson said 2023 was the “right year” to launch the network as the “appetite and the enthusiasm” for the sector is “unprecedented”.
“Our expedition operator members provide utterly incredible experiences by providing unrivalled access to destinations well off the beaten track and in so doing create natural ambassadors for sustainability by showcasing fragile environments in a sensitive way,” he added.