Avalon Waterways President and Australian Ambassador Melissa Doyle host Australian travel industry

Avalon Waterways President and Australian Ambassador Melissa Doyle host Australian travel industry
Edited by Travel Weekly

    Yesterday, Avalon Waterways President Pam Hoffee and newly appointed Australian Ambassador, journalist, TV and radio presenter Melissa Doyle took to the stage in front of a 46-strong travel industry crowd to discuss the ongoing river cruise boom and what’s ahead for the brand in 2024.

    Over a two-course lunch at the InterContinental Sydney’s rooftop bar, Aster, Hoffee shared with guests that the company is closely monitoring river cruise trends and adapting with new itineraries and offerings to meet traveller needs.

    “Avalon has had a record-breaking season, and we know traveller trends are changing with many wanting longer holidays,” explained Hoffee.

    “Due to high demand, we’ve added more departures, and as people are also keen to travel later in the season, we launched a series of Festive Cruises throughout November and December, which sold out within weeks of their release. This year, we are adapting further with two new festive itineraries on the Danube to offer even more availability and options.”

    Travel Weekly Editor-at-Large Nancy Hromin among guests at the lunch. (Supplied)

    Hoffee flagged that the traveller experience remains king, with choice more important than ever.

    “Today’s travellers don’t want a one-size-fits-all itinerary. They want to be able to choose experiences that match their special interests and provide them with a local’s view of a destination”, she said.

    Avalon Waterways launched its Active & Discovery offering in 2017, which allowed guests to customise their experience, choosing excursions that range from e-bike tours to kayaking through gorges and everything in between. It is now Avalon Waterways’ fastest-growing itinerary type in Europe, and an average of 23 Active & Discovery excursions are available across each major European waterway.

    Hoffee shared that the expansion of the company’s Active & Discovery itineraries has led to an increase in younger Gen X travellers exploring river cruising, ensuring its appeal for modern travellers in the years to come.

    Finally, Hoffee noted the continued popularity that European destinations are expected to see in 2024, thanks to river cruising allowing travellers a unique way of seeing the region’s most popular destinations while connecting with locals.

    “2024 will be another strong year for river cruising in France, owing to the country’s mix of both bigger and smaller waterways that appeal to travellers of all interests – think art lovers, foodies and history buffs alike. This ongoing demand has driven Avalon Waterways to develop new European product, such as the Vida Portugal: Vineyards & Villages itinerary that is set to debut along the Douro in 2024, offering a new view of the Old World,” said Hoffee.

    Additionally, Hoffee also teased about a new destination to come for the brand, with more details to be announced in due course.

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