Wholesaler Wrap: AAT Kings and Inspiring Journeys travel insights, new US itineraries for Globus and Cosmos + MORE

Base walk, Uluru, NT, Australia
Picture James Horan

This week’s Wholesaler Wrap is yet another promising sign that the travel industry has begun to rebound, offering plenty for agents to rejoice over.

AAT Kings and Inspiring Journeys share 2020 travel insights

Tour operators AAT Kings and Inspiring Journeys have conducted new consumer research that shows what Australians are seeking once travel restrictions are lifted and the trans-Tasman bubble opens.

The survey found that the top destinations on people’s must-do list are remote areas of Australia and New Zealand, with Darwin and the Top End the most popular (33 per cent).

The Kimberley came second (30 per cent), followed by Tasmania (29 per cent), Central Australia (23 per cent), and Cairns and Far North Queensland (26 per cent).

Interest in New Zealand was split evenly between its North and South Islands.

The findings also revealed that Australians’ community spirit remains strong, with 17 per cent of survey respondents wanting to visit bushfire-affected areas and have an authentic connection with locals (46 per cent).

With feedback showing people are more confident to book trips departing from September 2020, Aussie travellers are seeking cultural experiences (59 per cent), as well as and adventure through bushwalks and nature (38 per cent), and food and wine options (37 per cent).

Interestingly, 50 per cent plan to travel for over seven to 14 days, with 37 per cent planning to be on the road for over two weeks.

Globus and Cosmos unveils new US holidays for 2021

Image supplied by Globus family of brands

In 2021, Globus and Cosmos are introducing a new series of nine ‘Undiscovered North America’ tours ranging from eight to 14 days.

New itineraries created for this series include five new tours from both Globus and Cosmos: Globus’ ‘Quebec In Dept with the Gaspe Peninsula’ (11 days, priced from $3,563*), Cosmos’ ‘Alaska & the Yukon’ (12 days, priced from $3,609*), Cosmos’ ‘Historic Trails & Blue Ridge Mountains’ (14 days, priced from $3,172*), and Cosmos’ ‘Western Canada with Inside Passage’ (13 days, priced from $3,618*).

*Price includes early-bird discounts of 10 per cent for Globus and five per cent for Cosmos, valid for new 2021 bookings made before 9 November 2020.

Beyond Travel expands product range eligible for 15 per cent agent commission

Australian-owned destination specialist Beyond Travel has expanded the product range eligible for agents to earn 15 per cent commission through its recently launched ‘Beyond Corona’ campaign.

Beyond Travel’s general manager of sales and marketing, Bryce Crampton, said the success of the promotion so far had been “really encouraging”.

“It has been so positive to see agents slowly reigniting communications with their clients that we have added another seven small ship Croatian cruises, with over 100 departures in 2021 that now offer 15 per cent commission,” he said.

Furthermore, Beyond Travel’s $49 per person ‘Risk Free’ deposit has been extended to cover the exclusive, small-group Signature Journey range.

The deposit is fully refundable on selected 2021 services booked until the end of August 2020, should clients change their minds for any reason.

In a bid to further assist agents, the company has introduced a ‘COVID-19 Guarantee’ on numerous Cruise Croatia products so agents can reassure clients booking in 2021.

Crampton said agents should seek out the COVID-19 Guarantee refunds symbol on Beyond Travel’s website to be certain which products are included, with many products offering savings of up to $3,000 per cabin for clients.

World Expeditions gets ready for ANZ rebound

Credit: Colin Monteath (supplied by World Expeditions)

Adventure travel specialist World Expeditions is preparing for a rebound in domestic and New Zealand active holidays, led by surging demand for self-guided and custom itineraries, as travellers opt for local, nature-based experiences.

Although the vast majority of World Expeditions’ international range remains inoperable due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the company’s domestic and New Zealand brands are poised for what could be a healthy season, if early booking levels continue.

Tasmanian Expeditions has already confirmed several walking and multi-activity trips, while its New Zealand cycling and walking holidays – operated by Trail Journeys, Adventure South and World Expeditions – are also taking strong levels of enquiries for the coming summer season.

World Expeditions CEO Sue Badyari, said that months in isolation and concerns about safety were the driving factors behind increased demand for active adventures.

“Active holidays are intrinsically safe because walkers or cyclists spend almost every waking moment outside, where it’s natural to practise physical distancing,” she said.

“Travellers are looking for uncrowded and remote experiences that give them the chance to reconnect with nature and the natural world, at least partly in response to isolation and having been contained for so long.

“As well as revived interest in group tours, there has been a surge in bookings for self-guided adventures and for custom itineraries, with families, couples and groups of friends choosing to travel together on private departures.”

World Expeditions is accepting bookings with $0 deposit to provide travellers with the confidence to plan their next holiday, which Badyari believes has also contributed to the rebound.

The company has also introduced new operating procedures and practices designed to ensure travellers’ safety and minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The new safety measures include new pre-departure screening procedures for clients, as well as new operational procedures, such as having all passengers equipped with a mask when travelling on group vehicles.

Crooked Compass launches luxury NZ itineraries

Crooked Compass has unveiled New Zealand itineraries as part of its luxury Classe collection, which include exclusive wilderness accessed by helicopter and private boat, age-old Maori practices and luxury lodges.

Three itineraries – North Island, South Island or combined – are available for travel in February and October 2021. Prices start from $14,995 for a 10-day itinerary, with a maximum group size of eight travellers per departure.

ATG introduces new health and safety measures

APT Travel Group (ATG) has responded to the ever-changing COVID-19 situation by implementing a number of new measures to elevate its health and hygiene protocols.

ATG’s Safe Travel Protocols include increased measures across all products, with a specific focus on Australian touring. Some key areas of attention are:

  • All classic coach touring will adhere to social distancing requirements where applicable and have a maximum of 24 guests* on their large capacity coaches (48 guests).
  • Pre-travel health screenings with specific COVID-19 health assessment forms and reporting for all guests and crew. Any guest who doesn’t meet the criteria will not be allowed to begin the tour or cruise.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available on all our tours and cruises at all times.
  • No self-serve buffets will be offered on any tours and cruises.
  • Face masks will be available for all guests on request.
  • All staff and crew will undertake industry recognised COVID-19 training in areas of health and hygiene, and an in-house training program is under development for ATG’s international crew members.
  • Small-ship cruising limited to 114 guests with specific enhanced health and hygiene protocols.
  • Increased cleaning of frequently touched surfaces with hospital-grade products.
  • Small-group offerings aligning themselves with social distancing, with fewer guests in communal areas at one time, such as small groups in the exclusive ATG-owned Kimberley Lodges.

Working with supplier partners to ensure all health and safety protocols are of the highest standard and suppliers used across all products will meet COVID-19 regulations.

Featured image credit: James Horan (supplied by AAT Kings Group)

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