MSC UK chief hints at Explora Journeys team expansion after restructure

MSC Group’s UK boss has said a restructure unveiled this week will enable the company to grow, as he hinted at an expansion of Explora Journeys’ team.

The group announced on Tuesday it is to bring its soon-to-launch luxury line Explora Journeys under the same umbrella as MSC Cruises in the UK & Ireland under managing director Antonio Paradiso.

It said its cruise division was “enhancing support to trade partners” through the move, adding it would create “greater synergies which will benefit the travel trade community”.

Speaking to Travel Weekly on board MSC Euribia ahead of the ship’s naming ceremony, Paradiso said the merger would attract new agents and encourage a greater number of existing agents to start cross-selling the brands.

“It will give us the opportunity to have some of the agents who are already successfully selling the ‘Yacht Club’ to start selling Explora, and also to have agents who are completely new to the MSC group,” he said.

Paradiso, who will assume in-market responsibility for Explora Journeys, which will continue to have dedicated teams for sales, marketing, contact centres and public relations, added there would be “no changes at all” in terms of personnel – other than the possible expansion of Explora’s team.

“The main message is that I’ll be in charge of both brands in the UK and Ireland, but we’ll have two different teams,” he said. “There’s the organisation we already have in place for MSC Cruises and we already have an amazing team at Explora, especially in the sales field, so nothing is changing from that point of view.

“The only thing that is going to happen in the coming weeks and months is that we may increase the current team at Explora.”

Discussing the timing of the move, Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Group’s cruise division, said: “We are a European company and therefore we need to present the brand, the experience, as Europeans. The initial approach was like it was done in the past – American companies with a North American product introducing the opportunity to Europe.

“We’re doing it the other way round. We need to distribute, to talk, to engage with the trade and share synergies in the back office to support the trade.”

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