AAT King's lowers South Pacific prices

CHATSWORTH, Calif. -- AAT King's Australian Tours (USA) dropped its South Pacific tour prices by an average of 10% to 15%, according to Kieron Keady, North America general manager.

Twenty CTC agents"Visitors to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji will be able to take advantage of the stronger U.S. dollar in 1999," he said. The tour operator, for example, dropped the price of its 22-day Grand South Pacific Tour by $755 from the 1998 price, with prices now starting at $5,790 per person, double. Similarly, it slashed the price of its 13-day Australia Highlights independent FIT itinerary by $600, to $1,895.

Keady said that Australian Tourist Commission arrival figures show steady tourism growth from North America. However, ATT King's, he said, "experienced phenomenal growth in city modular touring packages sold, far outstripping industry results." For 1998, the company expected to finish the year with 55,000 passengers on such stopover packages. "Although AAT King's has long been recognized for coach and four-wheel-drive touring, it has emerged as a successful operator of Australian module packages," he said.

The shorter module packages include Sydney, Melbourne, Alice Springs, Ayers Rock, Darwin/Kakadu, Cairns, and Adelaide/Kangaroo Island. Keady described the growth in Kangaroo Island bookings as "spectacular."

Off the coast of South Australia, the island has species of marsupials and birds not found on the mainland. Visitors see koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, fur seals, sea lions and penguins in the wild, he said.

A four-day Adelaide/Kangaroo Island package starts at $560 per person, double, including roundtrip air between Adelaide and the island.

Each module package features transfers; a choice of accommodations from standard to deluxe and sightseeing. A four-day Sydney package, for example, starts at $360 and includes accommodations; a city sightseeing tour with a Captain Cook luncheon cruise, and the Blue Mountains.

New for 1999 is an 18-day escorted tour called South Pacific Adventure, featuring Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. It is shorter and more moderately priced than the 3-year-old Grand South Pacific Tour.

Keady said the success of the Grand tour prompted the launch of the new itinerary, which is included in the company's 68-page 1999-2000 brochure.

South Pacific Adventure, with 14 Saturday departures in 1999, includes Melbourne, Cairns, Port Douglas, Sydney, Queenstown, Christchurch and two nights on Fiji's Coral Coast. The price, including air from Los Angeles, is $4,290.

AAT also launched two Australian adventure expeditions using 20-passenger Mercedes-Benz all-terrain vehicles:

  • The 1,100-mile Canning Stock Route, one of the world's longest cattle drives, across deserts to Alice Springs, taking 22 days. The price is $2,569 per person, and departures are May 22, July 24, and Sept. 4.
  • A 10-day tour of the Simpson Desert for $1,240 per person, with departures April 24, June 19, and Aug. 20.
  • AAT King's Australian Tours (USA) is a unit of the 86-year-old, Melbourne-based AAT King's, one of Australia's largest motorcoach companies. In November 1997, AAT King's was acquired by Travel Corp., the owner of such brands as Trafalgar Tours and Contiki.

    AAT King's, Phone: (800) 353-4525

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