Travel trade professionals can use the training materials to learn about the expedition cruise products of brands like Hurtigruten
Expedition Cruise Network (ECN) has created a new online training hub to help travel trade professionals learn more about the organisation, industry trends, the offerings provided by its expedition cruise brand members, and much more.
The hub was launched by ECN’s chairman Martin Johnson at an event in London, UK, on 18 October 2023 and is now live on the members area of ECN’s website. It features more than 100 training videos from both ECN and its expedition cruise members.
“We have taken the opportunity to learn about expedition cruises to a whole new level with the launch of our brand-new training hub for travel trade professionals,” said Johnson. “There’s everything on there from full training webinars from the ECN and our members as well as ship tours, sustainability information and showcase videos as well for those who are short on time. Webinar topics vary from broad discussions such as cruising trends and popular destination summaries to introductions to expedition cruise network members with their itineraries and ships.”
ECN is also surveying expedition cruise members and travel trade professionals in preparation for compiling its first Expedition Cruise Insights Report, which will be published later this year.
“We are able to share some of our first results: 70 per cent of our expedition cruise members report seeing growth in sales and 56 per cent of members report that over half of their sales are derived from the travel trade,” said Johnson. “Interestingly, only a third of these members generate more than 20 per cent of their sales from the UK travel trade market, which means the UK has got an enormous opportunity to develop its sales of expedition cruises.
“We also asked what destinations they would most like to see on expedition cruise itineraries and the favourite amongst respondents was Africa, with 40 per cent of respondents naming the continent as their favourite for new routes. This was closely followed by the Indian Ocean at 35 per cent and Asia at 27 per cent.”
During the event, Johnson also highlighted some of the biggest milestones ECN has achieved since it was established in April 2023.
“We've been super busy in our mission to connect expedition cruise operators with the travel trade and the media in order to promote expedition cruising as an incredible choice for travellers across the world,” he said.
“We recently held our first virtual expedition cruise conference where we showcased 12 of our expedition cruise members with over 170 registered travel agents over two incredible days. We have also organised the UK’s largest webinar programme dedicated to expedition crews, coordinated countless PR opportunities for our expedition crew members to take advantage of and represented the sector with a number of comments against articles far and wide across the media and more.”
The Expedition Cruise Network is a very welcome addition to the wider cruise industry structure, helping to raise awareness, grow sales and be a positive voice for authentic cruise expeditions. The network will surely thrive if it can maintain its current level of output and stay true to these values.
Read our interview with Expedition Cruise Network CEO Akvile Marozaite to learn how the organisation will work with travel agents and shipowners to promote the growth of a sustainable expedition cruising.