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Dnata Travel is trialling selling cruise through its mass market OTA Travel Republic for the first time.
Cruises are traditionally sold predominantly by cruise specialists because it is deemed to be a confusing and complicated sell, requiring expert knowledge.
But Iain Andrew, travel divisional senior vice president at dnata, believes it can be done successfully by a mass market online retailer.
He said: “Travel Republic has excellent technology and fantastic high volumes so we’re looking at how we can merge the two to generate cruise sales.
“Cruise is a growth market so we’re looking at how to make it work.”
Travel Republic parent dnata, a division of the Emirates Group, bought a 50% stake in UK-based cruise specialist Imagine Cruising earlier this year.
Once established with Travel Republic, Imagine’s tailor-made cruise holidays will also be plugged into tour operators Gold Medal, Travel 2 and high street agent Travelbag.
Dnata is currently helping Imagine establish an office and business out of Dubai, selling to nationals and expats.
Andrew said the cruise holidays would be sold through its operating brands in the Gulf states; Emirates Holidays and dnata Travel as the Imagine brand had no presence in the region.
He expected cruise-and-stay packages to Dubai to sell strongly. He said that Imagine boss Robin Deller was currently recruiting for staff.