Hurtigruten ramps up APAC

HURTIGRUTEN is in a period of expansion, with “next generation” Explorer ships set to debut this year and in 2019

and a new head of APAC appointed to lead it into the “next stage”.

Former Cox & Kings chief executive officer Damian Perry has taken to the helm as managing director of Asia-Pacific, taking the wheel from William Harber, who is now president of the Americas.

Harber spent the past 12 months establishing the foundations for the company in the APAC region, culminating in Hurtigruten marking the official opening of a Hong Kong hub last month.

“[Harber] built a team, he put a structure in place, he put some key strategies in place on both Explorer and coastal product,” Perry told travelBulletin.

“My role now is to grow on that, to make sure those partners are the right partners, we continue to build on those relationships, make sure the support’s there and really just get that growth that we believe exists,” he said.

A key goal for Perry is to continue the region’s growth pattern and “make sure there is absolute clarity on Hurtigruten and the opportunities beyond just the coastal product and into the Explorer range”.

The Australian market was performing “extremely well”, particularly for Hurtigruten’s coastal cruising product but he said there is plenty of opportunity to grow the Explorer product.

“Even though there’s good growth on our Explorer product, it was on a lower base, so the growth is good but we want to get those numbers up.”

Key to this is Hurtigruten’s GSA partnership with Bentours within Australia, a tie-up which Perry says is working well and seeing lots of growth.

He said the cruise line would now aim to strengthen its messages and brand within the Australian market.