Travel agents are missing out on lucrative commission by failing to focus on selling luxury river cruises.
Steve Williams, who is managing director of Fred Olsen Travel, which acts as UK general sales agent for AMA Waterways, said the new river cruise vessels will “completely blow away” common conceptions of river cruising and appeal to a younger audience.
He said: “There are high-value sales to be made, with good commissions, and I see this as a real growth area for the trade.”
At the end of last month, Peter Deilmann’s river cruise business went into administration. The company will continue to operate its 2009 cruises as planned until the season ends in October.
GoRiverCruise agent James Hill said the luxury river cruise market is virtually untapped in the UK, and that operators must focus on ensuring purchases can be easily made in order to survive the recession.
He said: “Operators will have to be open seven days a week and give key agents live availability to be able to close enquiries as capacity increases.”