National Geographic Society Launches Private Expeditions in Partnership with Virtuoso®
Trips for Independent Travelers Include Stays at New National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World
(January 2015) The National Geographic Society announced this month the launch of National Geographic Private Expeditions, a new line of trips geared toward independent travelers, offered in partnership with Virtuoso®, the leading international network of luxury-focused travel agencies and advisors.
Private Expeditions are unique itineraries to destinations all over the world that are specially designed for those who seek the flexibility to travel when and with whom they wish. Travelers explore independently while enjoying the benefits of traveling with National Geographic: top local guides, access to sites and experiences, built-in free time to explore and excellent accommodations. Travelers simply select a Private Expedition, choose their travel dates and any number of traveling companions and leave the legwork to National Geographic Expeditions and Virtuoso.
With a lineup of 13 Private Expeditions at launch and more on the way, travelers can choose from a range of trips geared toward a wide spectrum of interests. Culture enthusiasts can venture into Buddhist temples and ancient fortresses in Bhutan, and join monks and nuns for prayer ceremonies. Adventure seekers can hike or ride horseback along the dramatic coasts of South Africa’s Western Cape before heading out on safari in Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park. Throughout each trip, travelers are treated to local perspectives and meaningful cultural experiences, such as examining dinosaur fossils with a paleontologist in Mongolia or sitting down to mint tea with a rural family in Morocco.
Many Private Expeditions feature National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, a new collection of world-class, sustainable hotels that were also announced today by the National Geographic Society. Spread across six continents, the lodges are linked by their dedication to providing an outstanding guest experience while celebrating the cultural and natural heritage of their region and embracing sustainable tourism practices.
Virtuoso comprises over 355 agencies with more than 8,900 elite travel specialists in 25 countries throughout North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific and Europe. As part of the partnership, Virtuoso has enlisted 20 top travel advisors to form a team of National Geographic specialists dedicated to managing Private Expeditions bookings. These specialists can also offer additional assistance with obtaining visas and arranging air travel.
“By partnering with Virtuoso to offer this exciting line of trips, we are able to complement our unique itineraries with the exceptional level of personal service for which Virtuoso is renowned,” said Lynn Cutter, National Geographic’s executive vice president, Travel and Licensing. “Independent travelers can expect a seamless experience as they prepare for their trip and then set out to discover fascinating places in the spirit of National Geographic’s explorers.”
In preparation for the launch, National Geographic Expeditions and Virtuoso co-hosted a “Virtuoso Challenge,” inviting Virtuoso travel advisors to create a dream trip that reflects the core values of National Geographic. Tamara Olton of Traveline Travel Services won the grand prize for her Costa Rica itinerary, which is now a part of the lineup of National Geographic Private Expeditions. Her trip offers unique wildlife and cultural encounters, exhilarating outdoor adventures and opportunities to experience some of Costa Rica’s most remarkable hotels — including Pacuare Lodge and Lapa Rios Eco Lodge, both members of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.
“Virtuoso is proud to be the exclusive partner for National Geographic’s Private Expeditions,” says David Kolner, executive vice president of Consumer for Virtuoso. “Our advisors strive to provide their clients with unique experiences that immerse them in local cultures, customs and environments, and that is exactly what National Geographic has created with these trips.”
About National Geographic Travel
National Geographic Travel is the travel arm of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, founded in 1888. National Geographic Travel creates authentic, meaningful and engaging travel experiences through National Geographic Traveler magazine; National Geographic Expeditions; National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World; travel books; maps; digital travel content; and travel photography programs. National Geographic Traveler (eight issues per year) is the world’s most widely read travel magazine and has 17 international editions. National Geographic Expeditions, the travel program of the Society, offers a variety of unique travel experiences led by top experts to more than 60 destinations across all seven continents. Travel opportunities include family and student expeditions, active adventures, private jet trips and voyages on the six expedition ships in the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet, as well as photography workshops, expeditions and seminars. The National Geographic Travel digital group, shares its inspiring and authoritative digital content such as trip ideas, photo galleries, blogs and apps with its @NatGeoTravel community of 6.5 million. National Geographic Travel books bring readers curated travel advice, photography and insider tips. Follow National Geographic Travel @NatGeoTravel on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.
Virtuoso® is the leading network of luxury travel advisors and entities. This by-invitation-only organization comprises 355 agencies with more than 8,900 elite travel specialists in 25 countries throughout North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific and Europe, as well as over 1,700 of the world’s best travel providers and premier destinations. The network’s member agencies generate over $12.5 billion annually in travel sales, making the group the most powerful in the luxury travel segment. Their relationships with the finest travel companies provide the network’s affluent clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access. For more information, visit www.virtuoso.com
Posted by Eric Ward on 01/22/15