LINDBLAD’S president and CEO Sven-Olof Lindblad insists agents shouldn’t think of the brand as a cruise line per se, suggesting instead the company is really in the business of “providing people with experiences”.

“We just happen to use cruise ships,” Lindblad explains.

“Although our ships are very comfortable, we are very much focused on what’s outside and not what’s inside”.

Since making its first foray into the Australian market in 2013, Lindblad found the local economic conditions difficult for “a period of time”, largely driven by factors beyond its control such as a dip in the Australian dollar not long after making the company’s Aussie debut.

Despite the challenges, Lindblad says that sales in the local market have “stabilised”, and the business is now in a great position to inject renewed vigour into conveying its value proposition to the trade.

“It’s up to us to provide agents with the materials to convey the nuances of expedition cruising, so that they can align our product against everybody else and align them to the interests of their customers,” Lindblad said.

The company prides itself on being able to go to many remote destinations its competitors can’t and also provide a high level of expertise on board such as trained photographers, undersea specialists and authorities on glaciers and climate change.

“I think the market can grow because Australia has a disproportionately high per capita interest in the kind of thing we do, it has the highest per capita number of visitors to the Galapagos in the world — there is an inherent interest in nature and wildlife and in the kinds of geographies we visit.”

Likely to further consolidate its market appeal is a raft of new ships Lindblad is set to launch over the next three years including National Geographic Venture in December 2018 and National Geographic Endurance in the first quarter of 2020.

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