InsightIt's no secret luxury travel has been leading the industry's economic recovery. And some of the newest ventures indicate it's ultra-high-end travel that is leading the luxury sector.

Whether it's traveling by helicopter or going around the world in a private jet with just a few of your closest friends, some of the luxury travel sector's newest entrants are confident this is the niche market of the recovery.

Last week, industry veterans Barney Ebsworth and Linda Wischmeyer launched a private jet tour operator, Intrav, that "specializes in intimate, around-the-world experiences for the most discerning travelers."

Among their packages: an inaugural around-the-world, three-week trip for a mere $99,950 per person, double occupancy.

The news comes of the heels of several other recent announcements of private jet tour partnerships and packages like those from Khiri Travel Cambodia, which is offering a "flexible, 10-day luxury trip for millionaire travelers" that includes private helicopter and jet travel.

Jeri ClausingIt also comes on the heels of a new report from the Pew Research Center that shows the richest Americans got richer during the first two years of the economic recovery, thanks in large part to the booming stock market.

And that is fueling demand for services such as those from Intrav.

"I do believe that ultra-high-end travel is doing the best of all," said Wischmeyer, whose background includes work with Travcoa, National Geographic Expeditions, Abercrombie & Kent and TCS & Starquest Expeditions.

"The reason is that many younger people with the means to afford luxury travel are deciding to take advantage of luxury travel opportunities now rather than postponing their plans until some not-yet-determined future date. They have decided to take time off of work, to bring the high school-age kids, to bring the grandparents, to get a group of friends to travel together."

And as Travel Weekly Editor in Chief Arnie Weissmann reports from the American Express Publishing Luxury Summit, these travelers have high expectations. 

Wischmeyer agrees. And Intrav offers amenities not even the world's finest airlines can offer.

"We're ushering in a new golden age of luxury travel for our guests," she said. "Intrav's journeys take 50 guests on a travel experience that offers every imaginable comfort, from flat-bed seats and expedited security and boarding -- plus the comfort of knowing you are in a closed, secure group of known travel companions -- to an onboard private chef and WiFi, including a personal iPad."

Let's hope the stock market keeps booming. Because how could anyone ever fly commercial again?


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