Leading luxury cruise and tour operator APT is popping the cork on a huge year in 2017, celebrating an amazing 90 years from running a local bus route in Melbourne to cruising the Danube.
To mark this amazing milestone, APT has launched the Celebration Sale, with offers such as free international flights, cabin upgrades, complimentary stopovers, and air credits available on APT’s most popular cruises and tours.
Reflecting on the occasion, Australian travel industry legend and APT owner Geoff McGeary said that he felt it was important to share the occasion with those that had helped the business to be where it is today.
“We wouldn’t be anywhere if it wasn’t for our wonderful guests and loyal partners who have continued to support us through the years,” he said.
“The Celebration Sale is one way we can acknowledge that, and there will also be other opportunities through the year.”
The APT journey began when a 24-year-old mechanic named Bill McGeary put a bus body on a truck tray and seized an opportunity to transport commuters during a tram strike.
From there the business, which was originally called De Luxe Motors, branched out to become a school bus company based in Melbourne’s south east.
Bill’s son Geoff McGeary joined the business in 1961. In the mid 1960s he began taking tours to the Outback.
In those days, the roads were dirt, they travelled in the 2WD school bus and accommodation options barely existed. But through those trips Geoff found his calling, seeing an opportunity to evolve the bus line into a coach tour company.
Later, Geoff purchased Kimberley Wilderness Adventures, which now offers 4WD touring as well as a network of wilderness lodges throughout the Kimberley and small ship expedition cruises along the Kimberley coast.
He added Outback Wilderness Adventures to the portfolio too, extending the 4WD tours across Australia to include Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia.
Through a progression of strategic partnerships and acquisitions over the years, Geoff added new and innovative styles of travel, enabling APT to diversify to include international destinations and itineraries such as the very popular Canada & Alaska tours and cruises.
In the 2000s Geoff introduced river ship cruising for the Australian and New Zealand traveller in Europe; later expanding into Asia, South America, Africa, and India. In doing so he helped nurture the river cruise market, which has proved to be a huge success today.
In 2014 Geoff was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division for services to tourism. The business has also had its share of accolades. In 2016 APT won the prestigious National Travel Industry Award for Best Tour Operator – Domestic for the fifth consecutive year; and Best River Cruise Operator for the second year running. In 2015 it also won Best Tour Operator – International.
In 2017 APT will continue to operate cruises and tours on every continent, including Antarctica. Journeys will range from 4WD tours of the Kimberley, to small ship expedition cruises in the Baltic Sea, to river cruises on the Danube and the Irrawaddy alike.
APT’s Celebration Sale will run until March 15. For more information, call 1300 196 420, see www.aptouring.com.au/celebrate or your local business development manager.