Prime-time programmes swell interest in holidays at sea, says Giles Hawke, chief executive of Cosmos and Chairman of Atas

Thank you, Jane, and now it’s over to those of you who sell travel. I’ve just watched the latest series of Cruising with Jane McDonald, which included an Avalon river cruise, and the four programmes showcased some wonderful cruise experiences.

This series appears to have been just as popular as the last one, and has raised interest in cruising, both among existing cruisers and those yet to book their first sailing. Seeing what cruising is all about helps to break down common misconceptions and reinforces the positive messages and benefits that a cruising holiday offers.

I was delighted with how the Avalon cruise came across and think that this sort of programme makes cruising much more accessible to a broader range of people who may not otherwise have considered it.

River rapids

Being on the river opens up some incredible activities and experiences, and seeing the high standard of accommodation, cuisine and service, coupled with Jane’s bubbly personality, really gave viewers the wow factor.
So what are you waiting for? This prime-time TV programme has given our industry the promotion it deserves, and means a lot more people will be considering a cruise holiday.

So make sure you mention the programme, and others like it such as The Cruise, to talk up cruising – and the worldwide places you can visit by cruise ship – to encourage customers to book.

Cruise Month

And with Clia Cruise Month coming up in October, the timing couldn’t be better. Then in November we move on to the Clia River Cruise Convention in Amsterdam – if you can’t go this year, make sure you get in early for 2018 as this is such a great opportunity to learn a lot about this fast-growing and lucrative sector.

And it’s not only in Europe. The Clia Cruise Asia conference was recently announced and will be a major opportunity to experience and learn about the high-value Asian river cruise market and all the opportunities and selling tips associated with promoting this area of the world for river cruises.

There is a whole lot going on over the month to raise the visibility of cruising even more, so you really do need to get on board and grab your share. It’s all about increasing your knowledge in our business to be confident enough to sell different products.

Atas Conference

Another important sector, touring and adventure, has its very first conference on October 18 in Birmingham. The Atas Conference looks like it will be a huge success; we are already oversubscribed and have an exciting 24 hours lined up for all attendees.

Delegates will be presented with the latest data on the size and scope of the market to give them the confidence to sell touring to a broader age group. They will also learn more about the differences between all of the escorted touring companies and their product offerings during a hugely interactive trade show.

This will be followed by a gala dinner and awards – what a wonderful event to look forward to, and the first of its kind in the world.

What an exciting time to be in travel!