APT has named Paul Melinis as its new regional managing director, as the escorted touring and river cruise operator looks to bolster its commitment to the UK market.

Melinis will join from Insight Vacations, part of The Travel Corporation, where he has spent 17 years in senior sales roles.

In his new position, Melinis will be responsible for accelerating growth of APT’s touring and cruise business in the UK and Europe organically and through trade partnerships.

He will join the team at its office in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, in April and report into chief commercial officer Debra Fox.

Melinis, who is deputy chairman of the Association of Touring & Adventure Suppliers, said: “I’m joining APT at an exciting time.

“The brand has never been in a stronger position in the UK.

I’m looking forward to taking the business to the next level, building on the solid relationships and strategy already in place and also through establishing new revenue opportunities.”

Melinis, who has worked in the travel industry for 25 years, will take over from Nicole De Wilde, APT’s sales and marketing vice-president for North America, the UK and Europe, who did not want to relocate from Canada as the operator ups its UK focus.

Fox said: “We are delighted to welcome Paul to APT. His knowledge, commercial and strategic acumen, and ability to accelerate product and business growth will make him a perfect fit for the team we already have in place in the UK.”

Ulla Hefel Böhler, chief executive of TTC’s Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold, said: “We are extremely grateful to Paul for his 17 years of service with Insight Vacations and the wider TTC family of brands. He has been instrumental in growing our business, in establishing Insight Vacations as a multi award-winning premium guided holidays operator in the UK & Ireland and in positioning newer, sister brand Luxury Gold at the very top end of the market. He is with us until the end of March to ensure a smooth transition for our team and our valued travel agent partners.

“We wish him all the very best in his future endeavours, and are now actively looking for a suitable replacement to lead our dynamic, growing team.”

Fox thanked De Wilde for helping raise APT’s brand profile in the UK during her tenure.

She said: “APT has been operating in the UK for 35 years but it has been under Nicole’s leadership in particular that we have enjoyed our most significant success. She has been an outstanding asset in the UK. On behalf of the global executive team I wish her all the best for the future.”