River Cruise Marketing Guide for Tourism SMEs

A study to help SME’s seeking to enter the River Cruise Tourism sector was required to raise awareness of issues faced by local operators seeking to enter the European market.

The Brief

Acorn was commissioned by the CBI, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, to research and write a detailed study about the River Cruise segment offering practical advice to local operators in developing destinations.

Our Solution

Interest in cruising on both rivers and cruises is growing amongst the two largest European markets, Germany and the UK and Ireland.  The study provided key insights into European market for river cruise tourism to inform local operators seeking to enter the market:


  1. Safety is the number one priority for the global cruise industry which is heavily regulated.  
  2. Economic and environmental sustainability are key issues that affect the cruise industry today as the industry works to improve its reputation in the face of publicity surrounding pollution, plastic waste and overtourism. 
  3. Major rivers around the world are key competing destinations for river cruises and shore excursions including the Amazon River in Brazil; the Nile River in Egypt; the Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers in India; the Panama Canal; the Mekong river in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.   


The study provided a detailed picture of the global cruise industry and offered a wide range of advice and tips including how to plan and market a cruise and selling shore excursions to passengers.  Clear segmentation by cruise type and passenger demographics was offered along with channels to market.   


The report can be viewed and/or downloaded via the following link:


Entering the European market for cruise travel products