2016 saw Imagine Cruising opening its first office in Australia and the addition of two new retail stores in South Africa, growth in its core UK holiday range overall sales revenue surpass £100m for the first time with passenger growth in excess of 25%.
Part of the Emirates Group, dnata Travel has a 51% stake in the business and Imagine Cruising and dnata Travel also achieved a profitable first year of trading in Dubai and plans to expand further in 2017.
A first cruise retail store in Dubai also opened.
'Our first year as part of the dnata Travel and Emirates Group has gone really well,' Peter Shanks, development director, Imagine Cruising told Seatrade Cruise News.
'As well as achieving considerable growth in our core UK and South Africa markets, we have just completed our first year’s trading in Dubai, where we have established strong cruise interest in the region. In November we launched Imagine Cruising into the sizeable Australia market where our Cruise and Stay Holidays have been very well received by Australians,' he remarked.
As the company continues to grow both in scale and international reach, January sees a number of senior management changes and appointments.
Founder Robin Deller has taken on the new role of ceo for the Imagine Group. He will continue to lead the overall strategic development of the group, with a focus on the business in Dubai, South Africa and Australia as well as further developing opportunities with dnata Travel and Emirates.
Natalie May, a co-founder of Imagine Cruising is now md Imagine Cruising UK stepping up from her role as sales and marketing director. She will continue to have responsibility for all aspects of product development and relationships with cruise lines.
Elle Hudson is md Imagine Cruising Australia. Given the distance from the UK, and the opportunity for Imagine Cruising in a market of over 1m cruisers, she will lead the Imagine team based in Brisbane.
Zoey Chant is now head of digital and Becky Williams head of international trading, leading product and trading activities in South Africa, Dubai and Australia together with cruise line relationships relevant to those markets.
Deller said 'We are really excited about the growth opportunities that lie ahead for Imagine Cruising in a cruise sector that continues to thrive. These appointments ensure we have the right structure for growth. We have a healthy balance of Imagine experience and external industry experience in the business. The internal promotions are particularly well deserved.’