C360 - Stewart Williams, smallThe astonishing growth of river cruising will continue for at least the next five years, predicts Stewart Williams, MD Australasia of Globus, which owns Avalon Waterways.

River cruising numbers ex-Australia grew 338% between 2007-2012 and 50,000 Aussie pax are forecast this year. Mr Williams said 2014 had virtually sold out and the company was already marketing 2015.

He added: “We sell out from the top down, not the bottom up”.

Mr Williams said demand is outstripping supply and more capacity is needed. Demand is being driven by extra competition and greater choice across all price and product point. Greater travel agent awareness and and positive word of mouth have also been factors.

Looking ahead he predicted there’ll be continued evolution in ship design, better market segmentation, expansion into new river and more bundling, eg Tour + River, Ocean + River, Rail + River.

“There’ll be continued Double Digit growth over next 5 years,” he concluded.

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