Earlier this year, Tauck World Discovery launched the first departures of its Culturious journeys, the company’s first new brand since the 2003 launch of its Tauck Bridges family travel packages.
Built on the concept of satisfying travelers’ cultural curiosity, Culturious itineraries are designed to complement the company’s more traditional tours and appeal to a younger, more active boomer-age clientele.
“Culturious was a product that was custom-built for this market,” says Jeremy Palmer, director of Tauck Ventures, the division that helped create these Culturious journeys. “We looked at areas that we didn’t think we were maximizing and one of those was the boomer generation, in particular U.S. baby boomers. These folks are in the 45 to 65 range, which is a little bit younger than our core clientele. We felt that we didn’t have a product that was specifically crafted for them and the boomer market is something that speaks for itself in terms of volume, opportunity and growth potential.”
Tauck’s Culturious itineraries will provide travelers with a hands-on cultural immersion into each destination. “There is a need amongst this generation to really experience another culture and another area of the world,” says Palmer. “They want to feel alive, like they are in connection with the world. That’s the driving force.”
At the same time, Palmer points out, “These people are what we call ‘sight-doers,’ not ‘sight-seers.’ When they’re in the destination, they want to be involved and active in it. So, rather than just showing them things,” he explains, “as much as possible we want them to be cooking—if that’s the particular interesting area of the destination—or painting or going to the markets themselves to gather their own lunch and then we prepare it for them. It’s really to try to immerse them in the environment rather than just letting them go through it.”
For 2010, Culturious journeys will include itineraries in France, Italy, Costa Rica, Peru, South Africa, Namibia, and Manitoba, Canada.
The Tuscany and Cinque Terre itinerary in Italy, for instance, includes visits to an art restoration specialist’s private workshop in Florence, a local Tuscan outdoor market, a bike ride along the medieval walls of Lucca, and a visit to the Vasari corridor—an art-lined private passageway built in the 1500s above Florence’s streets. Rates run $3,490 pp dbl (land-only).
Or, your clients can set off on an African adventure with the 13-day South Africa & Namibia itinerary. This excursion includes a walk through the ruins of Cape Town’s original 17th century Dutch settlement, a sea kayak tour along Boulders Beach and a visit to the vineyards in Stellenbosch. Rates start at $5,690 pp dbl (land-only).
Palmer describes Culturious journeys as, “…more active, but it is not an active product. We get a lot of feedback from the marketplace that most people don’t want to be biking or hiking for seven days. It’s much more about stretching your mind, but also we kind of allow you to stretch your body a little bit because we feel that’s the best way to experience something.”
And while he says Tauck products are about enriching travel and connecting with the people and local cultures, these are different from the company’s traditional journeys in that they are smaller groups, there is a higher level of activity and there is more free time. “All of the things that are fundamental elements of any Tauck journey are incorporated in Culturious, but this is tailored to a specific demographic,” says Palmer.
“This product is very helpful for agents because it’s custom built. Rather than having to pick and choose different elements, we really feel Culturious has the elements these clients are looking for, so it’s an easy ‘pull-off-the-shelf’ product that’s going to satisfy their needs,” says Palmer. “We’ve also found that for agents, small groups and people who are on the FIT bubble, this product is appealing. We’re not trying to say it replaces FIT business for agents, they are just able to satisfy their client’s needs in a way that is cost-effective.”
Since the company launched its first departures in September, Palmer tells us the reaction has been very positive. “We have had pretty much universal feedback from our consumers and travel agent partners that this product makes a lot of sense,” he says. “Overall, people are loving it and saying this is one of the best trips they’ve had so we’re very happy.”