Nick Wilkinson, currently general manager, Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa, becomes vice president and managing director, UK and Ireland and MEA, also overseeing Israel and South Africa.
Christian Boell will continue as vice president and managing director Europe, including all markets within Continental Europe and Scandinavia. Each will report directly to Harry Sommer, executive vice president, international business development.
Wilkinson said NCL’s “major growth” over the last few years and the arrival of a fifth ship, Bliss, into the European market next April meant that sales and marketing needed to be more localized.
“It has come to the point where the size of the market is right to create two distinct areas,” he said, adding that the UK was NCL’s largest international market outside the US. Wilkinson said he would be working “very closely” with travel trade partners and would reveal a number of initiatives in the coming months including some possible new appointments.
“From a marketing perspective, the team can be very much more focused on what the needs are for the UK rather than across different markets,” he added.
He said that NCL’s Premium All Inclusive concept had gone down well with trade and consumers since its introduction in April. “It’s opened a whole new market, we are competing with land-based all-inclusives,” he said, adding that the concept had cleared up the confusion surrounding what was included. “Travel partners said they had to keep looking at what was on offer. We include service charges, gratuities, premium drinks and water in cabins.”
NCL operates Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas and Harvest Quay in Belize. Wilkinson said both were back in operation following Hurricane Irma. “Over 90% of the Caribbean was unaffected by it, it’s an important time to travel to the region,” he said.