AmaWaterways has officially launched its sales and marketing presence in the Australian and New Zealand markets with the appointment of an Australian-based team of seasoned travel executives.
Demonstrating its commitment to the growing demand for river cruising in the region, the company will be extending its valued sales and marketing support and building close relationships with travel partners through the newly appointed local team.
AmaWaterways’ vision to create an outpost in Australia was revealed first to the trade during Virtuoso Travel Week 2023, which LATTE attended and reported exclusively from. And as revealed in October 2024, leading the team is Managing Director Steve Richards, with more than 20 years of travel industry experience in luxury ocean cruising, land tours, and hotels and resorts.
Richards is joined by a team of accomplished Regional Sales Managers including Christine Oliver, based in Brisbane, managing Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory; Kim Vaughan, based in Melbourne, with responsibilities for Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania; and Kylie Chapman, based in Sydney, responsible for New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and New Zealand.
Completing the executive team are Ian Lyne, Head of Reservations, and Angela Smith, Head of Marketing, who will lead their teams and who both bring extensive experience in customer service and marketing, respectively.
“I’m thrilled with the dream team we have brought together to launch AmaWaterways’ full range of remarkable river cruises to the Australian and New Zealand markets,” said Gary Murphy, Co-Owner of AmaWaterways.
“Our company was founded 22 years ago with the mission to offer our guests elegantly appointed ships; highest-quality, locally sourced food and wine; a choice of thoughtfully curated daily excursions; and a crew who goes above and beyond, treating every guest like they are part of OUR family. We look forward to having more guests from Australia and New Zealand join us on the rivers in 2025 and beyond.”
Through AmaWaterways’ Australian team, travel advisors will be able to reserve their clients’ 2025 river cruises on more than 35 itineraries across a fleet of 29 custom-designed ships operating in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.
“There is an incredible opportunity for us to now offer our entire product range in this market. We know Aussies and Kiwis are astute travellers, and we’re here to give them the true luxury river cruise experience they’re after,” said Richards. “With more than 70 Celebration of Wine cruises; a special Grand River Cruise series of curated two-week itineraries and more than 20 optional pre- and post-cruise land packages, AmaWaterways has a river cruise journey sure to please whether guests are travelling on their own or with friends and family.”
Known for innovative ship design, meticulous itinerary planning and exceptional guest services, AmaWaterways will make history again in November 2024 as the first major river cruise line to take guests along the Magdalena River in Colombia with the launch of the luxurious 60-passenger AmaMagdalena, followed by sister-ship AmaMelodia in June 2025.
“We’re a pioneering company at heart, and along with new itineraries and exploring a new river this year, sharing the AmaWaterways experience with valued travel partners in Australia and New Zealand is yet another step in the journey we’re so excited to be taking,” added Richards.
The new team will start onboarding training from 29 January but is already taking reservations via the US-based call centre which will continue supporting the team until the local reservations centre is operational later this quarter.
Lead image: Steve Richards, Managing Director AUNZ pictured centre with; Gary Murphy, Co-Owner of AmaWaterways; Angela Smith, Head of Marketing, AU/NZ; Kristin Karst, Owner/Executive Vice President and Rudi Schreiner, Co-Founder and President.