Wholesalers

Backroads Touring enters Asia, plots global expansion

Tara Harrison

Backroads Touring has launched an Asia product range, with tours to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam set to start in September this year.

The small group tour operator is renowned for its UK and Europe product.

“We have tried to contract product and activities that are not with all the other operators,” Backroads Touring country manager Dennis Basham said.

The ability to differentiate the product in Asia was crucial, Basham admitted.

The eight tours were checked against competitors to ensure that they offer something unique, and are not ‘copycat’ itineraries.

To this end, no accommodation is with known name chain hotels, but rather, locally-owned properties.

The brand premise is to take the scenic back roads and avoid motorways. That premise extends to experiences they class as off the beaten track.

With 90% of Backroads Touring market stemming from Australia and New Zealand, the choice of Asia as a first foray into product expansion beyond Europe was a logical one.

There will be no resting on laurels, however, as their sights are set on North America, Canada and eventually South America.

While Flight Centre owns a 60 per cent share of Backroads Touring, the operator has maintained independence and sells more product through other agency networks.

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