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Published on Monday, November 11, 2019

Brexit takes its toll on European river cruise sales

Picture by Steve Dunlop

Sales of Asia cruises have helped APT Travel Group counteract a drop-off in demand for European river cruises due to Brexit uncertainty.

Debra Fox, chief commercial officer for the group, said Brexit concerns have impacted sales for cruises on Europe's rivers but 'people are going to Asia in droves'.

"Asia is huge," she told agents at the CLIA River Cruise Conference in Amsterdam, advising them to switch their focus from Europe to Asia and other destinations, including Russia and the Baltics.

But she said European cruise sales were now starting to pick up again.

"People are getting tired of Brexit, of the media, and are saying they just can't be bothered with it so I'm just going to get on with it," she said.

Fox pointed to strong overall growth in the river cruise sector.

"What other sector in the travel industry is experiencing 10% growth?" she asked the audience.

She said river cruises, particularly in Asia, appeal to customers for their 'brag value'.

"River cruises can give people access to places and experiences that you just can't do if you're travelling on your own. When you talk to your customers, introduce a river cruise and tell them about these unique experiences," she told agents.

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