Sunday 26 January 2014

Sarina Bratton awarded Order of Australia (AM)

Media Release from Compagnie du Ponant Australasia

Sarina Bratton AM


Sarina Bratton, a leading travel industry figure with a stellar reputation gained for her role in pioneering luxury international cruising in the Australian market, has been awarded an Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours announced today.

Mrs Bratton, who lives on Sydney’s northern beaches with her husband Ray and daughter Bianca, has been made a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for her significant service to tourism, particularly the cruise ship industry, and to business.

She said today it was an “enormous honour to be recognised with such a prestigious appointment”.

“I have long been an enthusiastic believer in, and supporter of, the potential of the international cruise industry from an Australian perspective,” she said. “To have been able to play a role for more than three decades in the development of this industry has been a huge and satisfying pleasure”.

Following an impressive 14-year career with Cunard Line, ultimately as Vice President and General Manager Asia Pacific, Mrs Bratton founded the first of her two cruise companies, Norwegian Capricorn Line, in 1997, in a joint venture between Australian interests and Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line. The company was acquired by Star Cruises in 2000.

Often referred to as Australia's "First Lady" of cruising, Mrs Bratton, four years later, pioneered luxury expedition cruising in the Asia Pacific region when she founded market-leading five-star Orion Expedition Cruises. Mrs Bratton served as Managing Director of the company until early 2013 when she sold her remaining shares in the company.

Her passion for small ship luxury cruising, as well as her acknowledged international reputation, knowledge and expertise in this fast-emerging cruise vacation category, led to her appointment late last year as Chairman Australasia for the luxury French yacht and expedition cruise line, Compagnie du Ponant. She was also appointed Special Advisor to the company’s Marseilles-headquartered executive board.

In her new Sydney-based role, Mrs Bratton spearheads Compagnie du Ponant's international development, with a specific focus on the Asia Pacific region, as both key destinations and source markets. Future plans for the company include the positioning of a new expedition ship in and around Australia from late 2015 for a program of itineraries featuring Australia, Asia and the Pacific Islands. The company will also heavily promote accessibility to other unique global expedition destinations with its existing expedition sister ships L'Austral, Le Boreal and Le Soleal and its spectacular sailing ship Le Ponant.

The high point of a career that has taken Mrs Bratton from a nationally ranked sportswoman in three fields (diving, gymnastics, trampoline) to the first female founder of a shipping line has been her achievement in creating Australasia’s only world-class, five-star expedition cruise line rated as a world leader in sustainability and environmental conscience.

Mrs Bratton’s business acumen has led to several senior board directorships within Australian state and federal governments, including the State Transit Authority (NSW), Australian Maritime Safety Authority (deputy chair), Sydney Paralympic Organizing Committee (Prime Minister’s nominee) and the Australian Trade Commission. She has also served as a non-executive director of Australia’s former premium eco-accommodation provider, Voyages Hotels and Resorts; was the Founding Chair of the International Cruise Council Australia (now CLIA Australasia - Cruise Lines International Association) and Non-executive Chairman of a private equity backed Australian experiential tourism operator.

In 2008, Mrs Bratton was the recipient of the NSW Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Services category of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. In 2006, she was honoured with the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award for her entrepreneurship and vision. Also in 2006 she was recognised in the inaugural Australian Travel Innovators Award for “enhancing the way Australians, and the world, travel”. She was awarded the Commonwealth Government’s Centenary Medal in 2003 for her business leadership contributions and in 2000 was entered into the Business Woman’s Hall of Fame.

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