Kuoni parent company Der Touristik has appointed Norwegian Cruise Line’s former Europe chief Christian Boell to expand the group’s cruise division.
Boell, who will take up his position on November 1, will be responsible for developing a group-wide strategy for cruise sales for Der Touristik, with a focus on sales and marketing.
He left his role as NCL’s managing director EMEA earlier this year as part of a restructure and has also held managerial positions at Aida Cruises and Nicko Cruises.
The cruise activities for the group’s individual brands will remain.
"Der Touristik is already one of the largest European sales agents for cruises," said Soren Hartmann, chief executive of Der Touristik Group - whom Boell will report into.
"We want to expand this activity in the future in a targeted manner.
"Christian Boell knows the whole breadth of tourism and with him, the cruise business should become one the driving force of our group."
Elsewhere, Der Touristik UK reported improvements in underlying gross margin and operating profits in its annual report and financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2017 – published on Companies House last week.
The group made profit before tax of £7.3 million compared with £1.4 million in 2016. Underlying profit before tax was £5.6 million.
Overall turnover for the group decreased by 0.68% to £293 million. “Price challenges due to exchange rate movements remain, which have impacted on volumes, although we have seen recent signs of improvement which give the directors optimism moving into 2018,” read the strategic report.
Meanwhile the group reported growth in its B2C channel but a decline in B2B in 2017.
The strategic report read: “The Kuoni brand has continued to benefit from growth in the B2C channel as a result of our retail expansion programme, although in 2017, this growth was not quite sufficient to offset the decline in B2B distribution.
“The decline in B2B is now starting to slow down through the turnaround actions taken.”
The report added that in the UK specialist businesses, the performance had been "strong", with continued increases in in turnover “for the majority” and underlying profitability remaining stable.
Last month Der Touristik UK launched Meraki Travel – an online tailor-made B2C brand.
With regards to Brexit, the strategic report revealed Der Touristik UK had seen an impact due to the weakening of the pound and that there could be some further impact “as customers continue to adjust their spending patterns due to price changes”.
The group added it did not expect there to be a visa requirement implementation for travel across Europe and if there were, “visas are not the hard stop for leisure travellers who can plan in advance”.