It says a lot about a tour operator’s range of adventure-driven itineraries, and how focused it is on offering out-of-the-box experiences, when it highlights “Wildlife & Polar” tours on its website’s homepage as one of the main categories. In fact, it’s one of the things that drew me to Exodus Travels, although its support of the travel agent community was another.
But why launch now in North America—it’s been selling vacations in the UK for 40 years—and what will set them apart from the rest of the specialized tour operators catering to U.S. and Canadian travelers?
Let me introduce you to Sharmil Goswami, North American sales manager for Exodus Travels, who says that what makes Exodus unique is that “rather than being a general all-purpose holiday company, we specialize and concentrate on providing holidays that are full of activities and inclusions to really get to know the destinations our clients visit.”
For example—and keep in mind that the maximum number of participants on a tour is usually 16—in Myanmar, Exodus offers “a cycle and a separate hiking trip that gets off the beaten track and explores villages, communities and places rarely seen by tourists. Places that are only accessible by two wheels or on two feet.” In Indonesia, it’s a “challenging trekking holiday that takes in volcanoes, Buddhist and Hindu temples, rice paddies, jungles, and villages,” points out Goswami. To put it in a nutshell, “we believe our portfolio of trips and trip styles can change clients’ outlook on the world,” he says. The focus is to dig a little deeper and not just take snapshots of the top tourism sights. And speaking of snapshots, Exodus, which has tours to Europe, Asia, Africa, South and Central America, and the Middle East, offers photography tours led by “the renowned wildlife photographer Paul Goldstein. He has helped clients photograph polar bears, jaguars in Brazil, tigers in India and our most popular location, Kenya.” And it’s not just about snapping away, it’s also, and this is important as it highlights Exodus’ core philosophy, “clients learn…how to photograph animals in a responsible manner that does not disturb or disrupt their existence.”
Another unique aspect is that Exodus offers truly adventurous experiences for the entire family—it does not hold back in itineraries such as the 8-day Mt. Toubkal Climb in which participants climb North Africa’s highest mountain. The trip, which starts at $700, takes participants (ages 16 and older) through remote villages and terraced fields, meeting the Berber people along the way, and offering spectacular views of the High Atlas Mountains. Goswami does point out that Exodus has trips suitable for kids 5 years old and up, although he stresses that the more adventurous trips with packed itineraries have an age limit of 11 and over.
And when it comes to its Polar excursions, Exodus delivers with holidays in both the Arctic and Antarctica—new for 2015 is the 12-day Sea of Okhotsk itinerary in Russia (from $7,105), which brings participants up-close to this sea’s rarely seen wildlife.
for travel agents, exodus offers:
• Agency-branded material for flyers and newsletter content;
• The Agent Adventure Club for agents who have made at least one booking with Exodus and if you make 10 bookings, you get a free place on a tour;
• 50 percent discount on the majority of tours.
And Goswami encourages agents who want to get more
in-depth information on Exodus’ product to reach out to Exodus if they “believe a visit [to the agency] will be beneficial.”
Exodus Travels: (844) 227-9087; exodustravels.com/usa or firstname.lastname@example.org