Sport tour operator The Golf Touring Company is eyeing expansion of its river cruise charter operation as its debut Avalon Waterways cruise nears a sell-out.

The company has chartered the Avalon Vista for a seven-night golf themed cruise on the Danube in July 2018, the first time such a product has been offered in Australia. It will be hosted by Andrew Daddo and includes a program for non-playing partners and four rounds of golf.

The Golf Touring Company has already chartered the Vista for a Rhine cruise in 2019, with managing director Stuart Catterson believing it has only “scratched the surface” of the golf-cruise potential.

“You have to sign your life away chartering a ship — without any bookings — but it was a calculated risk and thankfully it’s been very successful,” he said. “We’ve only got 10% of cabins left for the 2018 cruise and we launched 2019 on the strength of those bookings.

“Depending on how 2019 goes — and it has been very well received — I think we can grow to at least two departures in 2020.”

While the majority of bookings have come direct after the operator marketed the cruises through golf clubs, Catterson said recent sales have been generated by travel agents.

“When you look at the number of people taking a river cruise, I think we have only scratched the surface,” he said.

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