NEW YORK -- The Finnish Tourist Board teamed with Fort Lauderdale,
Fla.-based Passage Tours of Scandinavia and four Nordic suppliers
to craft what's being touted as the first luxury tour to Finland
The five-day Escape to Luxury: Take the Ultimate Trip to the Top
of the World package combines roundtrip travel from North America
on SAS Scandinavian Airlines; two-night stays at both the Sheraton
Stockholm Hotel & Towers and Helsinki's five-star Hotel Kamp,
and a cross-Baltic "minicruise" on one of two premium Silja Line
ships with additional perks, including limousine transfers.
Other high-end add-ons -- such as SAS business class upgrades,
private museum tours and Lapland excursions -- are also
"We've offered packages that featured five-star Scandinavian
hotels before," noted Roald Noto, vice president of Passage Tours,
which is offering 10% commission and guaranteed pricing through the
end of next year.
"But this is the first time the tourist boards are actively
promoting luxury travel."
Nino de Prado, director, North America, for the Finnish Tourist
Board in New York, cited a surge in international interest in
Helsinki -- and the famed Hotel Kamp, part of Starwood Hotels &
Resorts' Luxury Collection, in particular -- as inspirations for
"We have never talked about Finland or Sweden as luxury
destinations before, but then we've never had a luxury product to
market before, either," he added.
Anna-Lena Sharivar, an independent travel consultant and
Scandinavian specialist affiliated with Classic Travel Service in
New York, welcomed the package, noting that Nordic destinations and
hotel properties -- despite their prosperous image and high
quality, respectively -- generally do not meet the expectations of
well-heeled international travelers.
"Scandinavians live plainly and are not used to service or
luxury standards," she said.
"What you'll usually find in Stockholm hotels is not what you'll
get in London, but the Kamp in Helsinki is absolutely top-notch.
I'm pleased they're offering this package."
Pricing, based on double occupancy, begins at $1,798. Single
supplements are available from $1,360, and air fare upgrades start
Spouse fares are also available.
For more information, contact Passage Tours of Scandinavia at
(800) 548-5960 or (954) 776-7070; fax: (954) 776- 7188, or e-mail:
Passage Tours' Web site can be found at www.passagetours.com.