Aurora Expeditions’ new UK managing director aims to boost agents’ knowledge of the line’s product with a series of ship visits and a fam trip to Antarctica next year.
Speaking to Travel Weekly, five months into his new role at the expedition line, Dewing plans to host ship visits in Scotland and Ireland.
Industry veteran Jos Dewing previously spent 10 months as a consultant for SeaDream Yacht Club and held the chief executive role at Voyages to Antiquity for nearly five years prior that.
Looking ahead, he said: “In terms of the fam trip we’ll work with [trade] partners who need to understand us more because Aurora’s one of those products that needs to be experienced.
“The expert guides, the small [excursion] groups and extraordinary level of experiences – it really is something that if you can understand it, you can sell it far better.”
Next year, the line’s Greg Mortimer ship is scheduled to cruise around Ireland in May, depart Oban in May; and Aberdeen in June.
Dewing said he wanted to invite as many agents as possible on the 132-passenger vessel.
He confirmed that the line would resume operations on January 8, 2022, with a 12-day Spirit of Antarctica sailing departing from Punta Arenas, Chile.
Due to Chile’s high vaccination rate, Dewing explained that Aurora had chosen Chile as an embarkation port rather than other South American countries. Currently, 74.4% of Chile’s population has been fully jabbed.
On the recent red list reduction, Dewing added: “We did get to the point that we did not think that it was going to happen and then suddenly it happened. Now it’s full steam ahead.”
However, the Australian expedition line has decided the launch sister vessel – called Sylvia Earle – in spring 2022, according to Dewing. Sylvia Earle had been slated to launch in Antarctica next month.
“It is the right time to operate one ship in Antarctica,” Dewing explained, adding that the decision “made sense”. “Greg Mortimer is ready to operate now.”
Dewing said that the line works with between 60 and 80 UK agents but numbers were rising. “Cruise specialists are ramping up their focus on expedition cruise,” he said. “There are new names each week.
“There are agents that have clients who have been to Antarctica and want something more unique.
“Then we’ve got some polar partners who are knowledgeable about our business and can really develop it.”
Dewing said his three-person UK team – including UK and Europe business development manager James Turner and Karen Hollands, who oversees reservations and sales support – works with a “real mix” of agents.
He estimates that Aurora’s UK team has met with around 20 agencies this year. “Being there and being able to talk through things makes all the difference,” he added.
“This is a unique product and there’s real demand for it. We’ve doubled capacity as we have two new ships. We need to work with new partners and we want to grow the UK business.”
He added that the line is “perfectly placed” to meet strong demand. “We’re getting enquiries from new agents that we’ve not worked with and a wider range of destination enquiries,” he added.
“We [Aurora] were born in Antarctica but we’re getting a lot more interest in the niche destinations that we sell like the Russian Far East. Wrangel Island is one of those destinations for guests that have done a polar expedition like Antarctica or Svalbard and want even more wilderness.”
“We spend around three or four days circling Wrangel Island. It’s growing in popularity.”
Aurora has four departures between July and September in 2022 calling into Wrangel Island – around 60 miles north of Russia.