Looking back on the year that was, 2016 delivered solid results for the luxury travel experts at Abercrombie & Kent with significant year on year growth. The most impressive results came from the company’s new hosted small group journey portfolio, which increased sales by over 200 per cent and now comprises 22 itineraries to destinations as diverse as Central Asia, Colombia, Ladakh and Iceland with a selection of guest hosts adding an expert touch.
Where A&K guests travelled
The most popular destinations visited by A&K guests in 2016 were India, South Africa, Australia, Myanmar and Botswana. Sales to India jumped by an impressive 70 per cent, with a strong product offering, bolstered by competitive airfares and online visas, while the favourable exchange rate in South Africa also lured luxury travellers. Global security fears encouraged many to holiday at home, while free elections in Myanmar put one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful countries back on the map for the right reasons. Botswana celebrated 50 years of independence from Britain, and the Sanctuary Retreats portfolio welcomed the new look Chief’s Camp in the heart of the Okavango Delta.
How A&K guests travelled
Small group journeys proved the outright winner for 2016, and in particular, those with guest hosts bringing their own personal perspective to the destination and unique expertise to the itinerary. Tailor-made holidays continue to be strong, with a marked increase in large family celebrations to places like Africa and Europe. Cruising is another increasingly favoured styles of travel, with A&K’s Arctic and Northwest Passage voyages booking out fast and the Norwegian Fjords Cruise with Iceland a popular newcomer.
Where A&K travel experts ventured
In the ongoing search for new and exciting destinations and experiences and in the interest of staying ahead of the game, A&K’s travel experts have been busy travelling to the four corners of the globe. From expeditionary cruising to adventures by super jeep, cultural attractions and culinary experiences, exotic desert camping and luxury safaris, team members got beneath the skin of each destination with on site experts and insider encounters, enabling first hand and informed recommendations to pass on to A&K guests. Destinations included Colombia, Botswana, China’s Silk Road, Tanzania, the Arctic, Eastern Europe, Morocco, the Galapagos Islands and Iceland.
Where A&K guests avoided
World events conspired against some A&K destinations, with the military coup and incidents in Turkey heavily affecting business. Travellers also thought twice about South America because of Zika virus while France had its fair share of tragedy.
The average length of trip for an A&K traveller in 2016 was two weeks. This allows travel at a leisurely pace, as well as time for proper immersion in the destination. In two weeks, travellers can explore most single country destinations in depth or can combine neighbouring countries for a more succinct interlude. Travellers also appeared to be planning further ahead in 2016 with bookings being made on average six months before travel. This means fewer disappointments particularly in popular destinations.
Looking ahead, A&K has released its 2017 hot list which predicts the destinations and experiences that discerning travellers will be considering. Whether it’s hard-core adventure, a cultural exchange, a far-flung expedition cruise or an unforgettable wildlife encounter, the list has something for first time and seasoned traveller alike. Here’s the list: Brazil; Cuba; Iceland; Iran; Ladakh; Northwest Passage; Japan’s Ryuku Islands; the Silk Road; Pumphouse Point Tasmania and Zambia.