With the cruise market in Europe growing 111% in the last ten years, RCL said it was aiming to bolster its position to meet this growing demand.
The investment will see a realignment of its European business, as RCL consolidates its sales structure from six to four clear territories across Europe: UK and Ireland, Nordics, Eurozone and EMEA International Representative.
The new Eurozone incorporates the sales teams in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland, and will have a support office based in Barcelona, headed up by a new associate vice president and managing director, Belén Wangüemert, who was previously the managing director of Spain and France.
This consolidation will see an increase in sales roles across Europe, reflecting the cruise operator’s ambitions to meet increased demand for cruise in Europe.
“This is a pivotal time for the industry as we see unprecedented interest in cruise from consumers and substantial investment in shipbuilding from RCL and our peers,” said Stuart Leven, vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and managing director of RCL Cruises Ltd.
“Our vision is to develop a best in class Europe-wide sales team to support agents in attracting new customers and encourage the business to deploy the best and newest ships to our shores.
“Our trade partners are crucial to the success of the Royal Caribbean business – this is an exciting opportunity for us to grow and deepen our relationship with them and open up even more opportunities for us both.”
The announcement comes as the cruise industry continues to ride a growing wave of popularity.
Following the success of Harmony of the Seas in Europe last year, RCL is poised to expand its deployment in the region with the 2018 arrival in Europe of Symphony of the Seas – set to be the world’s largest cruise ship.
RCL, which owns and operates three global brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, will be launching 10 ships over the next nine years, including the recently announced Celebrity Edge, and will continue to invest in future port infrastructure and ship building.
In 2016, nearly 6.7 million Europeans chose a cruise holiday over a land based one.
Cruising remains Europe’s (and the world’s) fastest-growing form of holiday and Clia’s latest annual survey also revealed that four out of five Europeans chose to cruise in Europe, with half going to the Mediterranean and Atlantic islands, and 21% to northern Europe and the Baltics.
Wangüemert added: “Barcelona is a key strategic port for Royal Caribbean and these changes and investment reflect our long term commitment to the city.
“Our experienced team is well set up for an immediate and smooth transition, and future growth as the industry evolves across Europe.”