A&K is making a big investment in new products and destinations: Travel Weekly

A&K is making a big investment in new products and destinations: Travel Weekly

CHICAGO — Abercrombie & Kent is investing heavily in more wildlife experiences as well as enhanced technology for travel advisors, the company said at its A&K 100 Club event for top sellers. 

The luxury travel group unveiled a $2.5 billion investment over the next five years that will introduce a slew of new destinations and products, including camps, lodges and ships for ocean, expedition and river cruises. 

The investment plan comes as A&K Travel Group CEO Cristina Levis said the company had a year of record growth that is enabling the company to expand its operations and product lines. 

A&K will open a new destination management office in Mexico this year, adding to the company’s continued investment in Latin America that also includes expanding its sales teams. Last year, the company opened a destination management office in Costa Rica. 

“In Latin America, specifically Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, we’re expanding our sales team to support outbound agents there,” said Marett Taylor, chief sales officer for A&K Travel Group. 

The company is also deepening its technology investment. The A&K Global Travel Advisor Portal, expected to launch in May, will streamline how advisors manage bookings and commissions, A&K said. Advisors will be able to indicate their home base in the portal, which will allow them to opt in for invititations to local A&K events.

New wildlife destinations

Madagascar and Borneo will join A&K’s small-group journeys portfolio in 2025. Stefanie Schmudde, A&K’s senior vice president of global product strategy, said these destinations will provide an off-the-beaten-path experience that guests are seeking. 

“We’re trying to include a lot more intrepid destinations,” Schmudde said. 

In Borneo, guests will explore rainforests on rivers and on land. They will also learn about the island’s orangutans, including orphaned orangutans that are cared for and rehabilitated to rejoin the wild. 

A&K’s small-group journeys in India will expand to the southern part of the country with new itineraries that will focus on the history, landscapes and cuisine of the region. And, Sri Lanka will get a new small-group itinerary. 

“It’s a fantastic destination that doesn’t get a lot of interest from the U.S. market, but we’re trying to change that. As we look to explore more off-the-beaten-path types of travel, Sri Lanka is perfect for that,” Schmudde said.   

Ann Epting, A&K’s senior vice president of private jet and special interest travel, said demand for wildlife experiences has been strong since they were introduced into the private jet program in February 2020, netting repeat customers ever since. 

“We’re developing a new wildlife and nature itinerary for September 2024,” Epting said. “It’s a combination of some wonderful, amazing wildlife experiences, but also some destinations that feature natural wonders.”

In-depth culinary tours

Culinary offerings will be a focus for A&K, as the company intends to expand its offerings in Southeast Asia and Europe, where Schmudde said guests can expect more in-depth, hands-on culinary experiences. 

Vietnam will be the first destination to host the brand’s new wine and culinary journeys, which begin in 2025, followed by Italy, France, Japan and China. These tours will explore the use of local ingredients, how food plays a role in the culture and offer opportunities to meet and dine with locals in the communities visited. 

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