PONANT makes a stronger play at the subcontinent market

French luxury expedition operator establishes India presence

PONANT is expanding its presence in India to support the company’s growth and provide a local base to address the unprecedented increase in luxury expedition cruising demand in the country.

Based in Mumbai, Manish Sonar has been appointed PONANT’s National Business Development Executive for India and Sri Lanka. Sonar’s career spans years of experience in the luxury space from hotels to tour operations and travel management. He previously sailed onboard PONANT’s fleet in the Arctic and Antarctica as a tour host for affluent Indian guests between 2017 and 2019.

Bringing his extensive knowledge of the luxury travel industry, Sonar will provide both business and customer support, through local sales assistance to PONANT’s trade partners and local customer services for its passengers. His appointment follows the expansion of the world leader of luxury expeditions in the Asia Pacific region, with already established teams in Sydney, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

Manish Sonar, PONANT's National Business Development Executive for India & Sri Lanka.

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Chris Hall, CEO of PONANT Asia Pacific, told LATTE: “The addition of Manish to the team is a testimony to our commitment to the Indian market in supporting our trade partners and growing our mutual business.”

Sonar comments on the imminent office opening, saying “The new PONANT office comes at the perfect time as the Asian continent is once again fully open to travel for the first time in over three years.”

“With the pandemic officially behind us, our travel partners are seeing record-breaking enquiry for luxury expedition cruises, which is precisely what PONANT offers across its fleet including Le Jacques-Cartier, which has frequented Indian waters and ports for many years.

“We are thrilled to be able to provide a local support to the growing demand and look forward to developing our activities in both India and Sri Lanka,” he said.

Le Jacques-Cartier operates various sailings in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka, and India, visiting Colombo, Cochin, Goa, and Mumbai. The vessel is the sixth and final of the EXPLORERS series, a highly successful series of sisterships carrying up to 184 guests in 92 refined staterooms and suites.

Julie Rogers, PONANT Director of Sales for Asia Pacific said of the appointment, “Manish brings a wealth of knowledge in the luxury travel industry and will be a great addition to the PONANT team supporting our local trade partners, assisting our guests, and developing strategies to further expand our activities in the region. We could not be more delighted to count Manish in our business development team and to lead this new office.”

After an intensive training period in Australia, Sonar commences in a full-time capacity with PONANT in India effective this month.

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