Luxury tour operator Classic Collection is to add long-haul holidays to its portfolio, starting with eight destinations.
Product will include private recommended tours, shared departure tours for solo travellers and fly-drive holidays, all with beach holiday extension options.
Classic, a European short-haul specialist, said the addition of long-haul follows demand from its travel agent partners. A brochure will be released next year, with a digital version from December 20. Product is on sale now.
Its first phase will include eight destinations: Vietnam, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. Classic said these will be followed with more destinations later in 2020.
It has partnered with luxury hotel brands such as Aman, Four Seasons, Six Senses and Anantara, as well as local hotel brands which Classic says “offer the same quality and customer experience”.
The operator said hotels have been selected due to customer reviews and satisfaction scores, as well as their positive impact on environment.
One property in the portfolio is the Lagoon Attitudes Resort, which Classic said is Mauritius’ “first eco-committed hotel” and has committed to no single-use plastic items.
Alex Gavalda, director of product and supply at Classic Collection Holidays, said: “There’s been a lot of feedback from agents asking why we were not selling long-haul. It’s also a growing market, more people are going to long-haul destinations so we see a gap.”
A dedicated team of 15, who have been on fam trips to visit the destinations, will focus on bespoke, multi-centre long-haul travel, while 30 staff will focus on the operator’s short-haul programme.
The Personalised Travel Team is composed of experienced agents from tour operating, agencies and cabin crew.
Gavalda said Classic had also employed two former Thomas Cook to work in its worldwide team which sells single-centre beach holidays.
“We are also recruiting new staff, in order to match the new requirements necessary for long-haul bespoke tours,” he said.
Until January 31, agents making long-haul bookings with Classic Collection earn double vouchers for Love2shop or M&S. That means they can earn up to £200 in vouchers per booking.