The proliferation of private touring

By Michelle Baran
InsightThere appears to be an undying demand for the benefits of touring without the tour group.

"We are seeing a significant uptick in the popularity of private touring," Bob Drumm, president of General Tours World Traveler, wrote in an email.

Michelle BaranFor 2013, the company has seen bookings for private tours to Asia jump more than 25% compared with last year, private tours to Europe have grown more than 21% and private tours to Latin America have increased more than 20%, according to Drumm.

"The influx of more sophisticated and experienced boomers, the interest in less regimented and more personalized travel and the rise of multigenerational travel are fueling this change," Drumm explained.

Drumm noted that, for instance, it isn't uncommon for families to book private tours so that they can travel together as a small, intimate group.

Consequently, General Tours has grown its private touring program to 47 global trips in 2013: 18 private tours to Asia; 13 to Central and South America; 12 to Europe, Turkey and Morocco; and four to Africa. The private tours include a private vehicle, driver, guide and customizable trip components.

General Tours is the latest in a long string of operators pushing heavily into this market. From Big Five Tours & Expeditions to Brendan Vacations, from IsramWorld to Abercrombie & Kent, operators large and small are seeing the private tours market continue to show growth and are responding in kind.

Follow Michelle Baran on Twitter @mbtravelweekly. 
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