NEW AmaWaterways local Managing Director Steve Richards has told travelBulletin there is a “huge amount of interest” in the cruise line, which is already taking Australian bookings for 2o25 – the first year it will be free of its current local GSA arrangement with APT.
Richards said AmaWaterways’ launch in the Australian market, which was announced two months ago, will see it able to offer its full range of 29 ships and all destinations to locals.
He added although the relationship between AmaWaterways and APT has been “fantastic”, the Australian tour operator had narrowed on the cruise line’s 14-day Amsterdam to Budapest product.
The new arrangement though will see Australians able to book AmaWaterways’ voyages in Africa, Asia, and more, with a dedicated local website featuring prices in AUD to go live by the end of the year.
“It’s quite expansive, so more opportunity, more inventory, and more product range,” Richards said.
One of the cruises Australians will be able to book is AmaWaterways’ new voyage aboard the new AmaMagdalena on her namesake Magdalena River in Colombia.
The voyage, which will depart from November, is not currently offered by any other cruise line in Australia.
Richards’ goal is for locals to book through the trade, which will be AmaWaterways’ “sole focus”, as it is with its United States and United Kingdom-based offices.
“We’re not interested in talking to direct customers, we’re solely focused on the trade…most of the business out of the US comes from the trade and that’s going to be the same case with Australia,” he enthused.
“We’re going to be easy to do business with and lucrative to the business with.”
Travel advisors will not be the only beneficiaries of AmaWaterways’ attractive business propositions, with Richards saying the cruise line will look to import its global trade relationships to Australia and cultivate new ones exclusive to the local market.
Richards’ two weeks on the job has so far seen him build out roughly half of AmaWaterways’ local office, which he described as a “dream team”.
The office, which will be in downtown Sydney, will consist of a field sales team, sales support, a marketing team, and a call centre, with staff to likely be fully placed halfway thorough the first quarter.