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Monday, 11 March, 2019, 14 : 30 PM [IST]

National Geographic Expeditions ventures into India; appoints FCM Travel Solutions as Preferred Partner

World’s premium expedition company, National Geographic Expeditions as part of exploring market opportunities in the Asia Pacific has ventured into India to promote and sell their bespoke expedition packages. The company has appointed Travel Tours, the retail arm of FCM Travel Solutions, as the preferred selling partner for the India market. There will be a dedicated website and call centre services to support the India business of National Geographic Expeditions.

Announcing the India market entry, Gary E Knell, Chairman National Geographic Partners, said that India with an 800-million population below the age of 35 “committed to change the world” is a remarkable opportunity. National Geographic by combining science, exploration and story-telling and backing it up with technology is best equipped to deliver bespoke expedition experience than anybody else in the world, he said. He stated that the endeavour of the company is to “push forward an agenda for India” for National Geographic which is not designed in America, but here in India and become a catalyst for change which is built on the spirit of sustainable travel.

Speaking on the occasion, Tim Jones, Vice President – Travel Expedition, Asia Pacific & Middle East, National Geographic Partners, said that the India launch is the first step of the company of getting out of the US market and looking at larger Asia Pacific market.  “Australia, China and India are priority market for us outside the US,” he said.

Jones said that National Geographic Expeditions stands out in its ability to make most unique destinations of the world accessible through air, sea and land to discerning travellers. All expeditions have experts like anthropologists, archaeologists, etc, onboard to impart knowledge. They also take expert photographers along in all their expeditions. There are around 350 different expeditions spread across all continents curated and organised by National Geographic Expeditions, he said.

Giving an indication of the minimum package cost of National Geographic expeditions, Jones said that while the land expedition’s start at USD 8,500, the cruise expeditions starts from USD 10,000 to 12,000, and the private jet packages USD 85,000.  “These are exclusive niche products,” he said, and therefore the target customer base is high-net worth individual with very high level of understanding for such expeditions.

The retail division of FCM Travel Solutions, Travel Tours Bespoke, which is specialised in premium holidays for HNIs will be selling these expeditions in the Indian market.  “This is a new tie up for us as well as them. It’s about curating life-defining travel experiences, and exploration.  We have been selling these packages through the US so far.  Now we are getting an opportunity to sell directly from here,” said Manoj Nair, National Marketing Leader – India of FCM.  

A dedicated team with different numbers, e-mails, tele-calling set up will be servicing the account within Travel Tours Bespoke, Nair said. Although the people who can afford such hi-end expeditions are very small, it’s quite significant, he said. Even that would be sufficient to surpass the numbers that the third largest market for National Geographic Expeditions now, the UK, would be doing in next year or two, he stated.
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