European river cruise operator Scenic Tours has joined the International Cruise Council of Australasia, officials said Thursday.

“Cruise statistics released earlier this year showed that across Australia and New Zealand more than 4 percent of total cruise passengers opted for a European river cruise in 2007, clearly making an impact in the cruise market,” said Brett Jardine, the council’s general manager.

Australia-based Scenic Tours operates tours on the Rhine and Danube rivers, and General Product Manager David Courage said the company was pleased to join at a time of strong expansion.

“Now that we are shipowners in our own right and committed to the future growth of river cruising, we see joining the cruise council as a logical step in supporting the industry,” Courage said. “Ongoing training of consultants is vital and to be part of a body that is focused on the cruise sector sends a strong message that we are committed to cruising.”

Scenic Tours’ addition to the council is the second addition in as many weeks. The Hong Kong Tourism Board joined Sept. 9.