Kuoni is to offer its first range of UK and Ireland range holidays as uncertainty around overseas travel continues.
The operator, better known for offering long-haul holidays in destinations such as the Maldives and Thailand, has partnered with UK operator McKinlay Kidd to produce the bespoke collection for Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland.
Kuoni began featuring a new UK and Ireland section on its website Friday morning, offering suggested itineraries. Product ranges from five-star luxury hotels to family-run retreats and experiences such as whisky tours and whale watching.
It includes: the Causeway Coast in northern Ireland; Scotland’s islands such as Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides; Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way; the Gower Peninsula in Wales; the Isles of Scilly; road trips in Devon and Cornwall; rural Northumberland and a five-star Aston Martin 007 weekend in Scotland discovering locations from past Bond movies.
Staff at Kuoni – which already works with other operators such as Ski Independence and Neilson – will work in partnership with the team at McKinlay Kidd to put together personalised holidays.
The operator is hoping to appeal to customers whose overseas holiday plans have been scuppered by the outbreak of Covid-19. Operators have seen bookings fall dramatically since the Foreign Office advised against overseas travel ‘indefinitely’.
Chief executive Derek Jones said: “The coronavirus crisis has played havoc with people’s travel plans so we wanted to create a collection of quality, premium trips throughout the UK and Ireland which blend local culture, adventure and exploration with luxury style.
“This is about working with like-minded specialists with similar values, and introducing more reasons for people to trust us with their special travel plans so we can broaden the scope of what we can offer.”
Heather McKinlay, co-founder of McKinlay Kidd said the partnership with Kuoni represented a “great match”.
She said: “Lots of people know Kuoni for their beautiful beach escapes and we want to surprise people about what’s on their doorstop. On a sunny day, a beach in the Outer Hebrides can do a fantastic impression of the Caribbean, with white sand and turquoise waters.
“Some of the beaches are so vast, you will barely see another soul – you could say social distancing is the norm.
“Conservation and wildlife is another reason lots of Kuoni customers travel to places like Africa, India and Borneo. Around our own countries, wildlife abounds in rural and coastal areas – eagles, otters, seals, badgers, pine martens and more. You can even go whale-watching off the west of Ireland and from the Isle of Mull in Scotland.”
The collection is now on sale for holidays in 2020 and 2021.