Coral Expeditions Scales Up Commercial Leadership Team  

Three new roles to drive growth opportunity in rapidly growing expedition travel sector.  

Coral Expeditions is pleased to announce the appointment of three new leaders within the commercial team to grow opportunities and scale up the organisational capability in the rapidly expanding expedition sector.

Andrew Thwaites has commenced in the new role of global Director of Sales.
Andrew is an experienced senior sales executive with deep knowledge of the cruise sector and an extensive network throughout the regions travel trade sector. His prior experience spans over 15 years at Carnival Australia where he progressed to the role of Head of Sales overseeing Seabourn, Holland America and P&O Cruises. Andrew has a passion for travel and joins us in Cairns with his family following a year of adventure exploring Australia. In the past month Andrew experienced the Coral Expeditions classic Kimberley cruise between Darwin and Broome.
“Having recently experienced the Kimberley first-hand with Coral Expeditions, I was surprised and impressed how the smaller vessels with limited guests allowed extra time exploring and contributed to the camaraderie built amongst guests and crew.”

Chris Jahnsen has recently joined the team in the role of Marketing Manager.
Chris joins the team with a wealth of experience in the media industry, performance marketing, and destination marketing. His previous role was within Dentsu’s media line of business at iProspect, leading the delivery of client solutions across several categories including travel, FMCG, finance, and not-for-profits. Although arriving from Sydney, he’s not a newcomer to Cairns, having spent several years here previously leading consumer marketing activity at Tourism Tropical North Queensland, including the redevelopment of their web and owned ecosystem, which was awarded two gold medals at the Content Council’s Pearl Awards in New York. Also in Cairns, Chris led the development of the Wet Tropics Management Authority’s Sustainable Tourism Plan as well as working with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef during its initial development phase. Chris will lead the marketing team, digital transformation initiatives, and integration projects with the NRMA group and members.
“Coral has an amazing product that’s been built from the ground up over the decades around guest needs; they listen to their customers. It’s a brand with a rich heritage but also one that’s always evolving, so many stories to tell and many adventures yet to be created” says Chris

Katherine Plohl has joined the team in the role of Reservations and Revenue Manager.
Katherine will be a welcome addition to the team guiding the sales and service team, guest relations and inventory management. She is a long-standing Cairns local with extensive experience leading reservations teams including the 5-star Shangri La Cairns and most recently four years at the iconic Skyrail experience. Her experience and demonstrated team-building capabilities will assist with enhancements to the Coral Expeditions customer journey and guest experience efficiencies.
“I am thrilled to join the team and be a part of this iconic travel brand. I cannot wait to travel onboard in the coming months and meet our guests and crew” says Katherine.

All three of the team will be based in the company headquarters in Cairns, Australia and have commenced their respective roles.

“These are exciting times for the business as we continue to see a rise in demand for our unique style of product here in Australia and around the world” said Commercial Director Jeff Gillies. “Coral Expeditions has emerged strongly from the challenges of the pandemic and maintained the trust and loyalty of our customers. We are now in a new era with opportunity for growth as the world opens up and as we see changes in customer needs, competition and in the travel distribution structure”. “I look forward to the enthusiasm and skills that Andrew, Chis and Kath will bring to the team and to see them help us build on the reputation and legacy we have created as the pioneers of expedition in the Australasian and Asia Pacific region”

The appointments reflect Coral Expeditions’ commitment to growth and evolution as they continue to be the leader of immersive nature-based travel experiences in the region. Now in its 41st year of operation, Coral Expeditions operates over 100 unique itineraries and hosts over 7000 guests each year. It is a wholly Australian owned and operated company and the largest employer and trainer of Australian skilled seafarers with 300 full time employees.



Find accompanying imagery HERE

For media enquiries please contact:

Jeff Gillies | Commercial Director
[email protected]
0418 415 581.


About Coral ExpeditionsRecognised as Australia’s longest established and most awarded expedition cruise operator, Coral Expeditions is Australia’s pioneering cruise line. Our single purpose is to take small groups of like minded explorers to remote natural regions with expert guidance and warm Australian hospitality. Founded on offering environmentally sensitive cruises on the Great Barrier Reef 40 years ago, our modern fleet has grown into a purpose-built blue water fleet featuring the intimate Coral Discoverer and the advanced flagship vessels Coral Adventurer and sister ship Coral Geographer. All ships are equipped with the company’s trademark ‘Xplorer’ safari tender boats and supporting zodiacs that take guests to shore quickly and comfortably.  Headquartered in Cairns, Coral Expeditions offers expedition cruises to the Great Barrier Reef, the Kimberley, Tasmania’s wilderness coast, Cape York and Arnhem Land, New Zealand and further afield to the small Islands of Japan, the Philippines, New Guinea, Indonesia and the South Pacific.