A&K preparing to launch DMC operation in Indonesia

Bali outpost to service increased demand for beyond the 'flop and drop' market

Banda archipelago, Maluku Islands, Indonesia

EXCLUSIVE: Abercrombie & Kent is establishing a destination management company (DMC) in Indonesia, extending its foothold deeper in Southeast Asia as a provider of luxury services in the region. The move comes as A&K responds to increased demand for niche high-end products and experiences in Indonesia, and streamlining the end-to-end offering for travel partners.

Graham Wood, Senior Vice President, DMCs – Asia Pacific for A&K, told LATTE the vision is to have a Bali-based DMC fully operational before the end of the year. The Indonesian business will complement other DMC operations A&K has Southeast Asia in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. The luxury travel company also has a partner office in Singapore.

Raja Ampat, Spice Islands

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Indonesia isn’t a new market for A&K, with Woods saying the firm generates a significant amount of business there, so “putting our flag down” is the culmination of a few years’ work.

“We’re seeing increasing demand particularly from North America and Continental Europe for the destination. With that level of interest, coupled with the need from the Australia/New Zealand side – to immerse themselves a little more – now was the right time.”

“With our existing business going in there already, its set us up to go in hitting the ground running. A decent number of clients have already travelled in recent years to Indonesia with us and we already have some great options available for A&K clientele.”

The Bali office will have A&K’s own employees, which the company is currently recruiting for.

Komodo Islands

Wood says Indonesia is much more than a ‘flop and drop’ beach holiday hotspot for travellers the world over.

“Indonesia is such a biodiverse destination. There is so much more to Indonesia that simply flying into and out of Denpasar.”

Wood, who heads up A&K’s regional DMC operation from India to Japan and New Zealand, says Indonesia is often viewed as a “complex” destination, with its more than 17,500 islands.

“There’s an extensive array of luxury hotels in Indonesia, diverse historical and cultural elements and an abundance of wildlife. All these elements really thrive as an A&K destination,” he said.

A focus for A&K will be unlocking the more remote islands of Indonesia, exploring and connecting with Indonesia’s cultural side.

The Indonesian DMC will be able to tailor programs to Komodo and Raja Ampat, and to historical destinations such as Borobudur and Prambanan with their 9th century Hindu temples, and hikes across rices terraces, spending time with farmers, and most importantly, getting to those locations.

“Anybody can sit on a beach, but if your clients wants to sail on a yacht from island to island, or trek the Komodo Islands, it’s being able to compile that type of experience and doing it in a way that A&K Australia luxury traveller – who is looking for authentic experiences – desires, ” Wood explained.

“People want to immersive themselves in culture and I don’t think many people understand just how diverse destination Indonesia is.”

“And all these wonderful things that you can do, but they are hard to do. How do you get to these outlying islands, how do you get on a yacht and put together an itinerary out into Raja Ampat? – and that is where A&K’s DMC can step in and help travel partners.”

Product innovation will be a “massive part of the business, and aimed at international audiences.”

Wood’s hinted to LATTE that the Bali operation is likely to be the first of other upcoming announcements in the Asia Pacific region over the next 18 months.

“It’s exciting times for us in Asia Pacific. There are many things happening at A&K at the moment and this is just the next cab off the rank.”

Abercrombie & Kent is currently recruiting for the General Manager, Indonesia position, which will be overseen by the Bangkok-based regional hub. Applicants can learn more about the role here.

All images courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent.

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