Switch-selling from cruise enquiries is a sure way to sell more touring and adventure holidays to customers looking for a range of experiences, agents at the Atas conference were told.

Carole Kirkham (pictured), of Preston agency Kirkham Travel, urged her peers to travel on escorted tours themselves.

“I sell a lot of cruises, and clients ask about tours to see more of the places they have visited,” she said.

“Once you’ve done one tour, you can tell customers what it’s all about. You can switch-sell to tours.”

Giles Hawke, chief executive of Cosmos, said: “People do not say ‘I want a coach tour’ but they do say they want to see jazz in New Orleans or the Calgary stampede.”

He said escorted tours offered clients the chance to stay in accommodation they would not be able to book if travelling independently.

For example, Cosmos features hotels in the middle of US national parks, which means clients can visit popular sights at sunrise to beat the crowds.

Guided tours also offer the chance to avoid the crowds at must-see attractions, such as the Great Wall of China and the Guinness factory in Dublin, he added.

Delegates heard how touring and adventure holidays offer accommodation ranging from five-star properties to ice hotels and homestays, as well as transport options such as tuk-tuks, 4x4s, husky sledges, canoes and helicopters.

Speakers said dining can also more adventurous on tours than independent holidays, such as meals with local families or expert guides.

With Experience the Moment as the conference theme, Rachel Lewis, South Africa Tourism’s campaign and partnership manager, recalled sunset in the Kalahari, accompanied by gin and tonic, and Paul Melinis – Atas chairman and APT UK and Europe managing director – talked about al fresco dining with a family in Sorrento after learning about limoncello.