Nordic specialist tour operator 50 Degrees North has unveiled a new brand in response to the recent Bentours collapse and the subsequent increase in demand for Scandinavian tours in Australian and New Zealand.
NORD Journeys by 50 Degrees North (NORD’ being from the old norse word norðr, meaning ‘north’) will offer most of the products previously available at Bentours in order to ensure continuity in the market.
This includes guaranteed coach departures, escorted small-group tours, popular FIT tours across the region, self-drive itineraries and Norwegian coastal voyages.
Some former Bentours sales consultants have joined NORD Journeys, with the brand’s sales team, website and agency brochures to be finalised soon.
Tietse Stelma (pictured above), co-founder and CEO of 50 Degrees North, said: “We have launched this new brand in response to overwhelming demand in the Australian and New Zealand markets to fill the gap left by Bentours.
“Our teams in Melbourne and Lillehammer have been living and breathing anything Nordic for the past 10 years (and for most of us, our whole lifetime), so putting this product range together has been fairly easy and straightforward, and we have the strong support of our local suppliers back home in the Nordics.
“That said, the total volume we handle is set to increase significantly, and in the spirit of honesty and practicality, we ask agents to be patient as we aim to fully set up NORD Journeys and offer the same high level of service that we have offered for the last decade.
“So, although you may experience a slightly longer turnaround to begin with, we are aiming at a 24- to 48-hour turnaround for quotes, which will be one of our measures of success.”
Last month, Bentours and Tempo Holidays were placed into voluntary administration, effectively killing their operations in Australia and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, speculation has been mounting that the demise of Cox & Kings – the parent company of Tempo and Bentours – is imminent.
Flight Centre recently noted in a trading update that it expects to incur approximately $7 million in costs “associated with its decision to ensure its customers were re-accommodated and not adversely affected by the collapse of Bentours and Tempo Holidays in Australia” in FY20.