Great expectations

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 11:08pm


As the travel market becomes more sophisticated, there is a growing demand for products targeted at experienced travellers, especially retirees.

In Hong Kong, luxury travel generally refers to premium trips with personalised itineraries.

They are designed mainly for those who have wide travel experience, prefer to travel independently rather than on group tours and are keen to explore new destinations and itineraries.

Kuoni Travel (China) continues to introduce new destinations and products. 'Hong Kong people now like to take overseas holidays with an emphasis on lifestyle,' says Raymond Ng, general manager for sales, marketing and distribution.

'They prefer holidays with longer length of stay, but covering fewer countries to gain in-depth and new travel experiences.'

Ng says holidays covering just one or two countries have become popular, such as those to Spain and Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, France and Kenya, while some of the company's best-selling new programmes include Kenya Great Migration, Brazil Carnival in South America and both Antarctica and the Arctic.

'We are exploring new destinations in Africa and South America. Last month, we introduced the 'Icebreaker' tour which sets sail from Kemi, Finland.'

In addition to destinations and programmes, Ng says travellers are also looking for accommodation with unique features. 'These include luxury hotels in special locations, such as the Ritz Carlton Moscow which lies at the edge of the famed Red Square; or a stay in the five-star luxury safari lodge, Mara Bushtops, in Kenya which is close to the point where the Great Migration crosses the Mara river.'

Meanwhile, home-grown travel agent Morning Star Travel Service is also aware of the trend and has rolled out its Luxeworld brand to push premium travel products and services.

'The rationale behind the launch of Luxeworld is that the market is full of mass products with an absence of tailor-made ones,' says the company's CEO, Jo Jo Chan. 'We feel the market demands this type of luxury experience, but consumers can't find such service providers.

'We have established an image store at iSQUARE in Tsim Sha Tsui, which is designed like a stylish coffee shop, to offer personalised products and services.

'Unlike traditional clientele, luxury-seeking travellers like to involve themselves in designing the itinerary inclusive of special requests.

'They would like to have a say during the trip planning stage.'