Malta specialist Belleair Holidays is in talks with travel agency consortia and cruise lines to offer more exclusive worldwide cruise and stay programmes through the trade.

This summer it teamed up with Norwegian Cruise Line to produce its first-ever brochure of bespoke rail and stay cruises and fly and stay cruises, which has been sold exclusively through Midcounties Co-op Travel.

The operator, which was sold by Air Malta to Maltese ground handler and cruise shore excursion provider SMS last year, said it is looking at ways to extend its reach further by offering other programmes through different travel agencies by linking up with other cruise lines. These are likely to be exclusive brochures over-branded with the travel agency’s name.

Chief executive Martin Zahra said: “We are now in the process of planning our next steps. We are looking at other travel agency groups who want to sell exclusive product and talking to other cruise lines as well. The idea is to work with more agents and tailormake a programme to their customers’ needs based on what agents tell us.”

Zahra said there was interest from consortia for bespoke cruise and stay programmes, particularly because it meant agents could package holidays under Belleair’s Atol and avoid falling foul of Flight Plus regulations when dynamically packaging cruises with land-based holidays themselves.

He added that Belleair Cruise Holidays could also bring out its own branded cruise brochure in addition to its year-round Malta brochure. “If there is sufficient demand we will look at putting together a generic brochure.”

He admitted many agents still only thought of Belleair as offering Malta because it has traditionally focused on the one destination under its previous Air Malta ownership. “It’s proving to be an interesting challenge to explain to some people we don’t just do Malta; we now have a more rounded product offering.”

The operator, which is bringing out its annual brochure in December with a new look to make it easier for agents to use, added that it welcomed the extra flight capacity into Malta next year.