UK to become Uniworld’s second-largest source market by 2025, president predicts

The UK will become Uniworld’s second-largest source market by 2025, the line’s president and chief executive has predicted.

Ellen Bettridge hailed the success of the UK market and the trade, saying both Uniworld’s UK team and agents have performed “phenomenally” in recent years.

Currently, the US is the line’s top source market, with Australia at number two and the UK just behind.

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But Bettridge said she expects that to change by the end of next year, with the UK overtaking Australia to become the second largest.

“The UK market has been performing incredibly well in recent years, and is currently up 28% year on year off the back of a record year.”

She added: “Agents are so important to us because they understand our product and the exclusive access to destinations that we offer, and they can explain that to their customers.”

Bettridge noted Italy and France as popular short-haul destinations for travellers from the UK, as well as India for long-haul holidays.

Following a recent decline in sales to the country, she encouraged agents to focus on Egypt, saying the destinations is about to “come back with a vengeance”.

“Now is the time for Egypt,” she said. “Egypt sales fell off a cliff when the conflict in Gaza began, but I think it will pick up again in the autumn, so agents should be paying attention to that.

“Before the conflict began, the ships on the Nile were all fully booked and we are going to get back there soon so this is the moment where agents should be talking about it to their customers.”

Bettridge went on to say she believes there are “endless possibilities” within river cruise as the sector is “still in its infancy”.

She predicted demand will soar in the coming years and encouraged the trade to secure bookings while capacity is available.

“Although we are all building new ships and there is more capacity entering the market, particularly in the luxury space, I think demand will outstrip supply at some point soon,” she said.

“To maintain quality we can’t build 10 new ships at a time so for us it will be a slow growth in capacity but we will continue to be here for customers and provide a luxury service.”

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