Germany is ready to displace the UK as Europe's biggest cruise market, say cruise industry bosses.
Cunard president and managing director Peter Shanks said there was “no question” Germany would overtake the UK to become the world number two for cruise sales behind the US.
Shanks said: “Germany is our fastest-growing market. The German market is 1.3 million a year now and the UK 1.7 million.”
Speaking at German trade show ITB in Berlin, Shanks said: “There is large package holiday market in Germany that is ready to upgrade to the cruise experience. There is no question in my mind the country will overtake the UK to become the biggest cruise market in Europe.”
Shanks added: “We trade on history, heritage and quality [at Cunard]. We are very different to the US cruise model. We thought we might have to provide a German experience for the German market, but we find our German guests want a British experience.
“We are working hard with German travel agents who are highly experienced in a fast-growing market.”
Azamara Club Cruises president and chief executive Larry Pimentel agreed, saying: “Germany will usurp the UK as the number-two cruise market in the world in no time.”
But he added: “Cruising is still just 2% of the travel leisure market.”
Aida Germany president Michael Thamm said: “We will see double the figures in Germany by the end of this decade, with 2.5 to three million Germans cruising in a European cruise market of 10 million.
“The question is whether we have the right passengers and the business model to justify the huge investment.”
Dominic Paul, Royal Caribbean Cruises vice-president and group managing director for Europe, said: “Cruising is a still a well-kept secret. The potential is high and the value for money depressingly good.”
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