Holidaybreak-owned Explore Worldwide is to launch a sub-brand this summer aimed at holidaymakers who do not want to travel with tour groups, group chief executive Carl Michel has revealed.


Explore Independent is set to launch in June with a similar product range to adventure tour operator Explore but offering tailormade itineraries that are not escorted tours. Explore currently offers a range of off-the-beaten track group tours worldwide.


A team of five or six will operate out of Explore’s existing Farnborough offices to market the brand to individuals, couples and small groups aged 25 to 40 years. A general manager has already been hired to oversee the brand.


Michel, speaking at an e-tid.com breakfast briefing, said Explore Independent would be a rival to upmarket operators such as Audley Travel. He said: “It will offer Explore-type itineraries for people who are put off groups. There are people who want more privacy and we want to tap into a different market.”


The business is unlikely to be profitable in its first year but it is hoped it will help to increase awareness of the Explore brand, he said. It will be mostly direct-sell, but Michel did not rule out selling some Explore Independent holidays through the trade.


“We want to grow Explore’s trade business,” he added.