MISSISSAUGA — The flag has been planted – MSC Cruises says it is now officially the first cruise line to ever launch an office on Canadian soil.
Located in Mississauga, the office opens today with 15 team members, including a five-member contact centre that can answer calls in both English and French for FIT and groups. Also in office are three Business Development Managers: Leanne Hill who serves Western and Central Canada; Gabrielle Lalime, Quebec; and Krystal Langenberg, Ontario & Atlantic Canada.
At a welcome reception for trade media last night, Roberto Fusaro, MSC’s North America president, told Travelweek that the new office is a “testament” to the company’s commitment to the Canadian market.
“We have big ambitions for Canada and we’ve set significant targets for Canada this year,” he said. “MSC has 19 offices around the world, which is how we sell to our markets. We want to get closer to our markets and understand what each needs in order to adapt our commercial and product offering. That’s why we’re making this investment in Canada.”
Fusaro added that the company has seen significant growth in Canada, particularly in 2018.
“We have a lot of ships coming to North America, including four sailing out of Miami next winter. Canada has responded very well so far but we believe that being local and replying quicker to travel agents’ needs will allow us to keep growing and growing,” he said.
Ian Patterson, country Manager of MSC Cruises Canada who previously served as Director of Business Development, was also present to meet the trade and extend a warm welcome.
“As MSC Cruises expands globally, we see tremendous potential in the Canadian market, with Canadians continually showing increased interest in cruise vacations and more of our guests coming from the Canadian market,” he told Travelweek. “Canada is a distinct market with its own requirements and the opening of our new office will allow us to better serve the Canadian traveller.”
In conjunction with the office opening, MSC has launched Canadian websites for consumers (MSCCruises.ca) and for travel agents (mscbook.com/ca), which allow guests and agents to operate in Canadian dollars as well as access resources, information and tools. The websites will initially debut in English, with further enhancements and French versions rolling out by year’s end.
“Ultimately, our goal is to be the easiest and most profitable brand to work with,” added Patterson. “With this new permanent presence in Canada, agents will benefit from a dedicated Canadian website and booking platform, providing direct tools and pricing in Canadian dollars to help them service their clients and provide accurate information.”
At the of 2019, MSC Cruises will have four ships serving North America out of Miami: MSC Seaside, MSC Divina, MSC Armonia and MSC Meraviglia, arriving in North America for the first time in October. The company will launch its second cruise ship this year, MSC Grandiosa, the first of the Meraviglia-Plus generation, as well as its brand new private island destination, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas.
Plus, MSC Preziosa will continue to sail Guadeloupe and Martinique programs, which Patterson said are in high demand for Canadian guests.
“With our presence continually growing in this region, timing was ideal to establish a permanent presence in Canada and continue introducing travellers in the region to what MSC Cruises offers,” said Patterson. “As we enter this new phase of MSC Cruises’ growth in Canada, we are looking forward to making this next year our most mutually profitable yet.”
To learn more about MSC Cruises in Canada call 1-833-253-9977.