Starting this December, travelers will for the first time be
able to book a Trafalgar trip to the sub-Saharan countries of Namibia,
Botswana, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania.
Rounding out Trafalgar's extensive Africa portfolio is its
existing product offering in Egypt and Morocco and a return to South Africa,
which the company offered once before in 2001.
"I jump on many [Trafalgar] trips a year," said
Trafalgar CEO Gavin Tollman. "And consistently, when guests hear my
accent, the first question is, 'Where are you from?' I say, 'Africa -- South
Africa.' And they go, 'How come [Trafalgar doesn't] go to South Africa, and we
can't travel there with you?'"
Tollman noted that despite the demand from Trafalgar guests
for Africa, the company needed to find the right partner on the ground to
properly execute the program. That opportunity arose this March after Trafalgar's
parent company, The Travel Corporation (TTC), completed the purchase of
Cullinan Holidays Tourism & Leisure, a South African company that owns inbound
operators, outbound operators and travel agencies. One of those inbound
operators is Thompsons Africa, which will run the ground operations for
Trafalgar's sub-Saharan Africa tours.
The trips will be more intimate in nature than typical
Trafalgar tours, ranging from 12 to 15 passengers per trip, compared to the
average of 40 to 45 guests on Trafalgar's Europe itineraries, and a maximum of
52 guests on its North America trips. Some of the Africa trips, such as an
itinerary that includes Botswana, will be limited to as few as four people.
The launch is comprised of 10 itineraries in three trip
styles -- country explorer (a single country trip), regional explorer (a
multiple country trip), and mini stay (a condensed trip). The program's two
first departures (African Safari Adventure and Essence of South Africa) begin
in December 2018 and will continue to roll out with the remaining itineraries
having their first departures in the first few months of 2019.
Itineraries range from a four-day Victoria Falls Experience
trip priced from $3,150 per person, based on double occupancy, to the 15-day
Best of South Africa, priced from $6,425 per person. The 14-day African Safari
Adventure, which includes Kenya and Tanzania, is priced at $8,350 per person.
Tollman said that the pricing for its Africa program is
comparable to that of its other destinations.
He said the program is not targeted to any one specific
demographic such as family travelers versus couples or baby boomers.
Asked why it was important for Trafalgar to offer Africa rather
than simply direct interested guests to sister brand African Travel, Tollman
said, "Even though I wear many hats within TTC, if you cut me, I bleed
Trafalgar red. Trafalgar is the very cornerstone of everything that TTC is,
everything that TTC represents."
Not only is Tollman from South Africa, but he is a member of
the larger Tollman family, which owns and manages TTC, all of whom have their
roots in South Africa.
Said Tollman, "For us, to go home, and even more so,
just coincidently to go home in the year of Madiba, Nelson Mandela's centenary,
is the right decision for our brand at this time ... and giving our guests the
opportunity to now go and discover Africa in my way."