More customers and agents are experiencing the benefits of Escorted touring, says Colin Downing, managing director UK, Scenic Group

We have found an ever-growing appetite in the UK for quality, luxury touring. Customers are keen to experience a country to its fullest, with unique experiences and value for money at the forefront of their minds – and as long as these are fulfilled, they aren’t as sensitive to price points.

What’s hot?

Following the popularity of southeast Asia, we chose to launch touring products in the Far East this year, including Japan, China, India and Sri Lanka.

Another growth area is Egypt, Africa and Jordan, which we launched with Scenic last year and recently expanded with our sister brand, Emerald Waterways. These destinations are all on the ‘bucket list’, with the Great Pyramids, African safari, Lawrence of Arabia’s Wadi Rum and the river Nile all available to see. However, customers have been wary of visiting these areas independently in recent years.

Escorted touring provides a safe group setting to experience these iconic places, with tours led by experienced and knowledgeable guides. We have found this has encouraged interest, especially through travel agents, with the majority of our bookings coming through the trade so far.

Working with agents

This year, we joined Atas to work with other touring suppliers and raise our presence among travel agents who sell escorted touring holidays. We hope to work with the group to dispel myths about hidden costs or about guests being herded through sites with hundreds of tourists.

Scenic offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences as well as ‘Freechoice’ daily options, such as taking a ride on a Harley‑Davidson at Ayers Rock, rather than a strict schedule that many customers want to avoid.

As more customers and travel agents experience and learn about the benefits of escorted touring, we are sure the sector will continue to grow, as it has for Scenic.