Advantage 2017: Oasis Travel to open cruise store

Advantage 2017: Oasis Travel to open cruise store

Oasis Travel is to open a dedicated cruise business on the top floor of the Knock Travel premises, the one-shop Belfast agency it acquired in March.

Oasis managing director Sandra Corkin has registered the name The Northern Ireland Cruise Centre and plans to start trading by the end of June.

It will be staffed initially by three experienced agents. One will be Oasis agent Simon O’Neill, a cruise specialist and Clia ‘Master’, and Corkin is interviewing to fill the other two positions.

She said customers would be able to call the cruise centre and make appointments to meet the team, while a side door with the name above it would allow people to walk in off the street.

Corkin said the centre would sell cruise lines’ holidays, and also create its own under its own Atol licence.

“Knock is a really up-and-coming area of Belfast,” she said.

“It is becoming really sought-after with lots of fine dining, so we think it’s the right place to find new customers,” she said.

“The cruise companies are telling us there are a lot people going on a cruise from Northern Ireland but not booking with an agent in Northern Ireland. So while we do have cruise expertise, they are not finding us.

“There must be a feeling among consumers in Northern Ireland that we’ve not got the experience or the deals – but we have, we just need to market ourselves better.”

Meanwhile, Corkin has gutted the former Knock Travel shop and is refurbishing it in the Oasis Travel style and branding, ready to reopen on May 30.

“It’s got new lighting, heating, decoration and desks, and I’m taking the staff out to go through any training gaps they might have,” she said.

Former Knock Travel owner Doreen McKenzie is staying on to provide consultancy advice two days a month.

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