Michelle Froese is a Vancouver-based writer, editor, and adventurer. She's an advocate for clean energy and eco-tourism, and has spent nearly 15 years as an editor for renewable trade publications and more than 20 years as a technical writer. Michelle serves as an editorial judge and marketing manager for TABPI (Trade, Association and Business Publications International), which sponsors the Tabbies b2b magazine editorial and design awards.
The “golden age” is a term once used by early Greek and Roman poets when referencing a time of high-end, exceptional living. Circa the 1950s and 60s, the golden age typically referred to air travel, when flying meant luxury. Passengers were treated to champagne, gourmet meals and outstanding service — with comfortable seating and ample legroom.
Today, Insight Vacations has reclaimed the term as part of its Luxury Gold brand, with the tagline: “Bringing back the golden age of travel.” And they mean it.
“Luxury Gold is for the client looking for something more tailored and certainly more luxurious. It includes hand-picked hotels, Michelin-star dining and unique experiences in destinations such as India, Australia, Egypt and Russia,” explained Paula Rizos, director of business development in BC & Yukon, for Insight Vacations. “It really is something special.”
Rizos and Brad Ford, president with Luxury Gold, hosted an evening for nearly 60 of its west coast travel advisors at Vancouver’s Point Grey Golf & Country Club on Thursday, Oct. 3. The event included cocktails, dinner and a viewing of a Luxury Gold coach.
“We invited our top travel advisors, who’ve been incredibly supportive, to say thank you and share what’s new for 2020,” said Ford. “CIBC says there’s a $750 billion luxury opportunity available in the next 10 years as baby boomers come into an inheritance and think about retirement. So, this is a massive opportunity that we want to share with our travel advisors.”
“I’m not surprised,” said Wedad Bishara, owner – travel & groups specialist, with Marlin Travel in downtown Vancouver. “I’m seeing retirees in the city, who are either selling their homes or delving into savings, seeking high-end, quality travel experiences. And no one looking for luxury travel is going to book such a trip through the Internet. They need direction and support.”
The Luxury Gold difference
As part of The Travel Corporation (TTC), a family-owned business that provides “experiences of a lifetime,” the Luxury Gold aims to provide that direction.
“Luxury Gold is a little different,” shared Ford. “It was inspired by TTC’s Chairman, Mr. Stanley Tollman, who’s had the good fortune of more than 60 years of travelling in luxury, worldwide. Thanks to his experiences, we’ve created a boutique of exceptional itineraries.” Ford said this may include champagne with a duchess or wine with an Italian marchese, who’s had generations of wine-makers in his family. “These are opportunities of a lifetime.”
Ford and Rizos presented four new Luxury Gold 2020 escorted journeys at the Vancouver event, including:
- Art, Culture & Cuisines of Columbia. A taste of this 10-day VIP experience includes a private tour of the Museum of Gold in Bogotá, an after-hours visit to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, and a meeting with award-winning author, Juan Gabriel Vasquez.
- Ecuador ME to WE Extension. Guests of the Treasures of the Incas journey to Peru can extend their journey with a unique five-day visit to the Amazon. “Luxury Gold partnered with ME to WE, a social enterprise, which connects guests with indigenous communities and local sustainability projects,” said Rizos. Travellers can help dig a well or lay foundations for a health center.
- Vibrant Eastern Canada & the USA. A 10-day journey from historical Montreal, along Kancamagus Highway, to the Big Apple. On the way, travellers will enjoy champagne at Quebec’s Le Vignoble Le Cep d’Argent and stay at the esteemed Essex House in NYC.
- Elegance of the Pharaohs. A 10-day luxury trip that includes a tour of the Great Pyramid with an expert Egyptologist, a museum visit to the Tomb of Tutankhamun, access to Temple of Luxor and a cruise on the Nile.
“Insight offers an upgraded product that never disappoints,” shared Alison Moody-Stuart, senior travel professional, with Transat Travel. “Their attention to detail is, bar none, the best. And their smaller group sizes are ideal. Where most coaches offer 56 seats, Insight’s host a maximum of 40 guests with an average of 33.
The company had one of their coaches on display in the parking lot of the Vancouver country club. Aside from fewer seats, which offer passengers double the legroom, the coaches offer double windows. “We also avoid the freeways and take guests through the back roads to truly experience a region,” said Rizos. “Just imagine the views clients experience with these windows!”
What’s more is the company’s Make Travel Matter pledge, a commitment to sustainable tourism and conscious travel.
“Everyone in the company has signed the pledge, and we’re asking travel advisors to do the same online,” said Ford. “The pledge means we will remain sensitive to the regions we visit and conscious of sustainability — never offering single-use plastics, for example. We truly pledge to offer the extraordinary.”
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