Hurtigruten Expeditions has enlisted expedition expert and long-term Quark Expeditions staffer, Alex McNeil to develop the brand’s next generation of expedition cruises – with even more depth and destination partnerships at the core of the experience.
A pioneer in the expedition industry since 2007, McNeil has completed over 100 expeditions, including reaching the Geographic North Pole on 14 separate occasions. He will assume the role as SVP Expeditions Product and Guest Experience this spring. McNeil was with Quark Expeditions for over 15 years, most recently as the Director of Expedition Experience and Innovation, a title he held for 3 years and nine months.
“Alex will play a significant role in developing the future of our expeditions as we continue to create new and exciting adventures for our guests. His extensive field experience combined with understanding of how to offer the most sustainable and inspiring expedition cruises, makes me confident that he will help us re-design the future of adventure travel,” said Asta Lassesen, CEO, Hurtigruten Expeditions.
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New generation of exploration
In his 15-plus year expedition career, McNeil has sailed on more than a dozen different expedition vessels and completed trips by land and aircraft. His creative and collaborative approach to product development has led to the creation of industry-first itineraries, immersive shore excursion experiences, and the first expedition cruise products developed in full partnership with indigenous communities.
“I am excited to be a part of the Hurtigruten Expeditions team as we identify global opportunities to develop an entirely new range of sustainable, guest experiences,” said McNeil.
His expertise in sustainable adventure travel will help advance Hurtigruten Expeditions’ ambitions to balance tourism growth with the environmental changes. This responsibility is central to Hurtigruten Expeditions’ ambition to be the world’s most sustainable travel company including achieving net zero emissions by 2040.
McNeil believes viewing the expeditions and the destinations as an integrated unit is an important measure for success.
“We will explore nature and culture together with our guests and alongside those who live in the regions we visit. It will be important, for example, to integrate even more local expertise, local food and other local products and services than today,” said McNeil.
“We want to present new generations of guests with next-generation expeditions,” Lassesen said.
The CEO continued, saying: “Building on our existing mindset and offerings, we will invite modern-day explorers to expedition cruises that are genuinely life-changing – where sustainability, true exploration, learning and quality always come before quantity.”
The innovative push will create an even clearer alternative to quantity-oriented mass tourism.
“We are totally aligned with our guests, the local communities we sail to, and the crews of our small-sized, custom-build ships: Our primary focus will be on creating increased value – in the guest experience, for our partners, and for nature. Our quest is to transform expeditions into a regenerating and protective force in parallel with growing our presence to new corners of the world,” she added.