Cruise Holidays, a cruise agency franchisor, has finalized a contract with Australian-based CruiseMart, for CruiseMart to become Cruise Holidays’ first-ever Australian master franchisor. The agreement opens the door for CruiseMart to expand its current operations using the Cruise Holidays brand name, along with the franchisor’s programs and services. Cruise Holidays already includes approximately 250 franchise owners across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

CruiseMart is one of Australia’s original cruise specialist retailers, with an established online presence and retail locations in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Those locations are in the process of adopting the Cruise Holidays name. CruiseMart’s future growth strategy includes the conversion of existing home-based agencies and retail agencies in Australia.

To maximize its growth potential, CruiseMart will implement Cruise Holidays’ technology systems, including CruiseWeb – the company’s fully-integrated back office to front office system – which offers full cruise booking, customer relationship management and accounting capabilities. CruiseMart will also make use of Cruise Holidays’ website program and layered marketing approach, providing maximum operating efficiency, control on resources and increased margins.

Citing the maturity of the North American cruise market, the deal also provides CruiseMart with a strategic partner that can foresee industry trends that may carry over to Australia, where interest in cruising is at an all-time high. Passenger numbers surged by 34% in 2011 over 2010, with 623,000 Australians taking a cruise in 2011, compared to 466,000 in 2010.

Mark Schiffner, vice president and CEO of Cruise Holidays, cited the success of Cruise Holidays franchise owners across North America and the United Kingdom as a reason to move forward with confidence in Australia. “Our relationships with our current franchise owners are our number one asset, and they guide our growth. Together, we’ve built Cruise Holidays into what it is today, and we’ve seen firsthand how our technology and programs can help transform a business into a more efficient, profitable operation. Our Australian partners were looking for the same opportunity.”

CruiseMart also stands to benefit from Cruise Holidays’ position within Travel Leaders Leisure Group, which is a division of Travel Leaders Group. The parent company is a $16 billion travel company that already includes approximately 30% of all travel agencies in the U.S. and Canada under its umbrella.

“We will provide considerable resources from Cruise Holidays as well as from our other owned and operated brands to put CruiseMart in an even greater position to succeed. We also look forward to doing whatever possible to help strengthen relationships between our current supplier partners and our new partners Down Under,” said Tom Baumann, president of Travel Leaders Leisure Group.

As Cruise Holidays’ master franchisor in Australia, CruiseMart will be responsible for supporting and growing the Cruise Holidays franchise there.