Norwegian cruiseline Hurtigruten will target growth through dynamic packaging and online sales after joining a €6.2 million partnership that it hopes will boost visitor numbers to the northern part of the country by 82,000 annually.
The move, involving Hurtigruten, tourist board Innovation Norway and Avinor, the country’s equivalent to airport operator BAA, will target both the UK and German markets and will look to capitalise on the growth in the flycruise market to the country.
Talks are under way about new twice weekly low-cost flights to Tromso from Stansted with Hurtigruten UK managing director Iain Cottam saying the operator was keen to widen its distribution to online agencies like Expedia and Lastminute.com and push the short breaks market.
The three-year plans, which went through a successful test period last winter, were revealed at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in London last week.
They will be fully implemented in September and a new online Hurtigruten agent training programme has been devised to support the initiative.
“We will provide new destination education and training programmes for agents so they are aware of the profile of northern Norway. We have new campaigns for both the consumer and trade in cooperation with our partners and have released a new dedicated Northern Lights brochure with a new DVD,” Cottam said.
“We have to be competitive both in our prices and products and improve our communications to make sure the trade understands our products and we have to improve our e-commerce strategy to keep pace with developments. This is a growing market, there’s no doubt about that.”
New activities and excursions are planned to appeal to a younger customer and it is hoped the new flights will encourage UK customers to consider long weekend trips.
Hurtigruten, which changed its name from Norwegian Coastal Voyage last year, cruises globally but its core product is regular north and south-bound services along the Arctic coast of Norway which locals use both as a delivery service and for transport.