Holland America Line sales chief pledges to double UK passenger numbers

Holland America Line aims to double its UK passenger numbers “in the next few years”, according to vice-president of international sales Nico Bleichrodt.

Currently, the UK makes up 5% of the line’s passenger numbers, Bleichrodt said, with 85% coming from North America and Canada.

Bleichrodt told Travel Weekly he wants the international market to grow to 25% of the company’s client base, with the UK increasing to 10%.

More: Holland America Line to homeport ship in Dover in 2026

He said basing a ship out of Dover next year will give the line a “clearer vision” of how soon it will reach the target for UK passenger numbers, but he wants to achieve the goal “within the next few years”.

“We want our international market to grow to 25% of our business up from the current 15%,” he said. “Those customers will mainly come from the UK, Australia and Europe.

“By next year we will have built up some experience of sailing from the UK so we will be more able to say how soon we will reach our target of making UK customers 10% of our business, but for now, we are saying within the next few years.

“The growth of our international client base is a big focus for HAL and the biggest growth will come from the UK and Australia.”

UK sales and marketing director Karen Farndell said the line has increased its 2024 UK ship visit programme from 430 agents up to 500 to meet demand from the trade.

She urged agents to engage with the line “as much as possible” to provide a greater understanding of “which of your clients we are the perfect fit for”.

“The fams and in-person onboard experiences we offer with our ship visits are key to our plan to increase the UK market share of the line,” she said.

“Our team is also working on a series of five-minute videos on destinations and onboard experiences to give our trade partners more understanding of our brand so they can go out and sell.”

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