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