Photo: Abercrombie & Kent
At its bi-annual meeting for top-selling agents last week, Abercrombie & Kent rolled out new services agents can add onto their clients’ trips, new destinations for 2017, and new cruises to Cuba and Japan—all against a backdrop of unusual experiences aimed at more active and inter-generational customers.
Begun in 1962 by Geoffrey Kent and his parents in Nairobi, Kenya, Abercrombie & Kent has become a major player in luxury tourism, offering high-end expeditions for a discerning clientele.
Richard Harris, senior vice president, announced new services agents can add onto their client’s trip, including package extensions, hotel-upgrade packages, and a three-day Dubai stopover. “I have personally long held the belief that no travel business can survive, let alone thrive, if it cannot add more value to a trip that adds cost,” he said. About 30% of A&K guests choose to add extensions to their journeys.
The company’s Small Luxury Group Journeys announced new destinations for 2017, including Thailand, Scandinavia, and Uruguay. Itineraries to Sri Lanka, New Guinea, and the Philippines will also be expanded. Harris said two of A&K’s more popular expeditions are new; Spain and Portugal is the second-best-selling tour in Europe, and Patagonia is now the number-three tour in South America.
Harris also highlighted A&K’s Connections program, which offers larger group tours with a focus on boutique hotels and experiences. It’s for the “upscale traveler who maybe wants something a little more informal, but still wants to be connected to the city.”
Private Jet Journeys
The company’s recreated private jet program has two new itineraries for 2017. Around the World by Private Jet: The Tropics to the Arctic kicks off in May 2017. The itinerary, created by A&K CEO and founder Geoffrey Kent, takes travelers to Colombia and Easter Island, followed by French Polynesia, Solomon Islands, the Philippines, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Russia, and Iceland. Aboard the exclusively chartered private jet, travelers can enjoy a fully stocked open bar while an on-board chef provides personalized, first-class meals.
A&K Private Jet Journeys will launch an Africa itinerary next year, stopping in 7 countries. Excursions include a private tour led by the owner of one of the oldest wine estates in South Africa, a “1001 Arabian Nights” dining experience under the stars in Morocco, and a helicopter tour over Victoria Falls.
The customer base on Africa trips is changing, too, noted Southern Africa managing director Paul Bauer. Instead of couples, “we’re now seeing more and more multi-generational trips,” he said.
With a host of new lodges, Zambia is expected to be the country’s next hotspot. And the new airport in Victoria Falls will provide more access to Southern Africa, and make more cross-border activities possible.
Hein Prinsloo, managing director for Tanzania, said travel to Morocco and North Africa is booming. He also said the area is popular for Jewish heritage tours, with many travelers from Israel and the United States.
Director Gerald Hatherly said the Chinese government has invested billions in its infrastructure, making this a great time to visit. He recommends the high-speed bullet train, which gives travelers a chance to see the changing vistas throughout the country.
Next year tourists will be able to cruise to remote tropical islands in Japan with A&K. The new expedition shows the area’s diverse landscape, including waterfalls, volcanic islands, and mangrove forests. The 16-day cruise sets sail in May.
A&K is launching a new itinerary to Cuba, visiting the Punta Frances Nature Reserve, accessible only by sea, and a protected Caribbean reef. Cuba by Land and Sea: A People to People Cruise takes travelers to Havana and Santiago de Cuba, followed by seven nights aboard the boutique sailing yacht Le Ponant. While A&K USA has been selling Cuba since 2013, “Cuba has so much to offer that we have been working on new ways for our guests to see more of the country,” said Bob Simpson, vice president of expedition cruising. “Because of A&K’s years of experience operating in Cuba, the necessary government approvals are already in place for the complete itinerary.”
Guests are more active than ever and traveling with families, and they’re looking for unique experiences, said managing director for Europe Carla Martindale. A&K’s European journeys offer unusual hands-on activities like devil biking in Switzerland and a speed boat ride down the Thames. A new short excursion to the Baltics and Scandinavia also has been added.