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NEWS SPECIAL REPORT


Clia Expedition Cruise Forum: More than 100 agents learnt how they can benefit from a booming sector at event in London last week. By Harry Kemble


Robin West, Seabourn


Lucy Huxley, Travel Weekly, and Andy Harmer, Clia


Antarctica seeks solutions to alleviate overtourism


Cruise lines in Antarctica will soon be forced to operate across a wider area to minimise the effects of overtourism.


About 30 more ships are due to start sailing in Antarctica by 2022, according to the International Association for Antarctica Tour Operators (Iaato), the body that governs tourism in the continent. To address any environmental impacts, Iaato is to announce plans to “spread out” operators, at its annual general meeting in Cape Town this month. Currently, the 20 most-popular


landing sites in Antarctica are all within a small area, but Iaato hopes new regulation will change that. Robin West, a member of the


Iaato executive committee and vice-president for expedition operations at Seabourn, said: “We have been looking at the expansion that has been taking place for the last two years and how we are going to manage it. “Members of Iaato are going


to have to start thinking about how they deliver that Antarctic experience to guests.


“Members are going to have


to spread out more across the peninsula to help us deal with growth [in Antarctica].” However, West revealed that


the effects of global warming were more visible in the Arctic, where the landscape is changing “from one season to the next”. West revealed glaciers in


Norwegian archipelago Svalbard –


a destination to which he has been travelling since 2008 – can recede by between 50 and 100 metres each season. He said cruise lines now had to travel 100 miles farther to reach ice than 10 years ago. Seabourn is set to enter the


expedition market with two ships: due in June 2021 and May 2022. More details on its ships are set to be revealed by next month.


Russia and Aleutian Islands ‘will be big’


The Russian Far East and the Aleutian Islands have been tipped as new and emerging expedition cruise destinations. Akvile Marozaite, Silversea’s regional expedition sales manager, said


“the Russian Far East is definitely going to be big” and the Aleutian Islands in the Pacific offered great wildlife, marine life and scenery. “There are rich ecosystems that attract a lot of whales,” she said, adding: “There is incredible scenery on the volcanic islands.” Robin West, Seabourn’s vice-president for expeditions operations, urged agents to send new customers to the Arctic before Antarctica. He said: “There are other areas around the world that offer similar


experiences.” West said Aldabra (part of the Seychelles) was his favourite warm destination. He also highlighted Kimberley in Australia for its “dramatic waterfalls” and Papua New Guinea for its cultural experience.


Expedition cruises ‘bring higher yield than ocean sales’


Expedition cruises produce yields 50% higher than ocean sailings, according to Deloitte UK’s lead partner for travel. Alistair Pritchard (pictured) said the sector attracted high-net-worth individuals. “Expedition is a different


market, a more affluent market,” he said. “There is an opportunity for greater margins and profitability. “Yields are typically 50% higher in expedition than in conventional [ocean] cruise.” Pritchard also highlighted


how the customer base for agents to target was expanding. In the decade to 2016, there


was a 200% rise in the number of people with wealth of more than £1 million in the UK.


14 travelweekly.co.uk 4 April 2019


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