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A&K turns 30 in Australia with plenty of luxury in store

March 11, 2016 Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59One of travel’s most famous names, Abercrombie & Kent (often abbreviated to A&K), is celebrating its 30th anniversary in Australia.

A&K founded its first Australian office in 1986. The company itself is considerably older, founded in 1962 in Africa by Geoffrey Kent (who still runs it) and his parents Valerie and Colonel John Kent.

Sujata Raman, A&K’s managing director, hosted a lunch at Bennelong Restaurant on Wednesday and briefed travel media on latest developments.

A&K head of marketing, Australia and New Zealand, Joel Victoria

A&K head of marketing, Australia and New Zealand, Joel Victoria

The cruise ship Queen Victoria was in port, berthed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal adjacent. Raman remarked that A&K managed a lot of shore excursions for cruise ships.

A fast-growing segment of A&K’s business is hosted group journeys, which head to exotic places like Iran, Uzbekistan and Ethiopia in the style and luxury that typifies A&K.

Raman spoke of a strong demand by people to visit and explore interesting and different locations. Guests had usually travelled before, sometimes quite extensively. They were keen on something different.

Company founder Geoffrey Kent, currently hosting a small group tour in Iceland

Company founder Geoffrey Kent, currently hosting a small group tour in Iceland

Coming up this year in the A&K repertoire are Ladakh, South Korea and Madagascar. A literary tour to Jaipur this year went well, Raman said. All tours are small groups: 18 to 20 people. A&K guarantees departures, giving peace of mind for small-group tours.

A&K has launched a series of tours with upmarket cruise lines such as Seabourn, Ponant and Azamara. This year, Raman said, they will head through the Norwegian Fjords, along the Amazon River and Caribbean, and around the Mediterranean and Adriatic.

Raman said growth from Australia has been very good last year for A&K, with the slide of the Australian dollar having had little impact. Domestic tourism had developed tremendously, she said, as well as tourism to places near Australia, like Papua New Guinea.

Managing director of Abercrombie & Kent, Sujata Raman

Managing director of Abercrombie & Kent, Sujata Raman, in Sydney on Wednesday

Speaking of developments further afield, Raman said: “Fortunately for Africa people have stopped worrying about Ebola but they have started thinking about Zika instead – which isn’t so good for South America.”

At the top end of the market, A&K offers tours by private jet. A chartered Boeing 757, equipped with first-class, fully lie-flat seats throughout, whisks guests to wonderful places.

One private jet itinerary covers Africa from Ethiopia to Morocco, the Serengeti to Victoria Falls, covering seven countries in 21 days. Guests on that itinerary can gaze upon the rock-carved churches of Lalibela and enjoy a reception with local dignitaries in Ethiopia; take in the iconic wildlife of the Serengeti brought to life by A&K’s outstanding safari guides; South Africa’s spectacular Cape Point and the Cape Winelands with exclusive wine tastings and epicurean delights; the extraordinary wildlife-rich plains of Botswana; Victoria Falls from above on a scenic flight; tracking mountain gorillas in the thick jungles of Uganda; and a night of desert camping in Morocco followed by three days in dazzling Marrakech.

Queen Victoria at Sydney's Circular Quay, adjacent to Bennelong Restaurant at Sydney Opera House yesterday

Queen Victoria at Sydney’s Circular Quay, adjacent to Bennelong Restaurant at Sydney Opera House on Wednesday

Private jet journeys are open to 50 privileged guests with a Tour Director, Tour Manager and local guides throughout. Aboard the jet is plenty of room, a bar stocked with premium brands, along with a well-chosen wine list, fine dining and an ever-attentive crew.

Such wonders do not come cheap – guests don’t get much change from AUD 100,000 for a three-week private jet adventure  – but the experiences are brilliant and unforgettable. Guests stay at lavish hotels like La Mamounia or remote camps like Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp and A&K’s private desert camp in Morocco.

From its foundation in 1962 (1986 in Australia) Abercrombie & Kent has grown to become the world’s leading luxury travel business, employing over 3000 staff in more than 100 countries. A&K operates a wholly owned portfolio of cruise boats, luxury lodges, tented camps, hotels, and all-terrain vehicles.

As part of its global commitment, A&K Australia prides itself on bringing a wealth of expertise, experience and attention to detail to any travel arrangements.

Written by Peter Needham

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