Customers are turning to security and comfort that only come with an escorted tour, says Newmarket Holiday’s Richard Forde

A Happy New Year to all our agents and partners, here’s looking forward to a better year for us all.

Escorted tours are a great way to explore the world at the best of times: they provide peace of mind, are stress-free and cost-effective. This year, however, escorting touring may be even more popular than normal, and here’s why.

As we head into 2021 and toward bluer skies and calmer seas for the travel industry, there is no doubt that the public’s desire to travel is as strong as ever, if not even stronger. After months of careful planning last year, we were able to briefly restart touring last year at the end of summer. The overwhelming feeling among our customers was very clear: they desperately wanted to get out and travel more in 2021, but only when they feel safe to do so.

And this is where escorted touring comes in. On an escorted tour, all the arrangements are taken care of. As a trusted and responsible tour operator with nearly 40 years’ experience in the business, we only work with suppliers – for example, airlines, restaurants and hotels – that conform to the highest COVID safety precautions, providing a safer, more secure experience from the moment our customers book.

There’s always a tour manager around on an escorted tour too. During times like these, this can have a reassuring effect on customers. All our tour managers are bonafide experts who really know the local area too. Using their valuable local knowledge, our tour managers will ensure customers have an enjoyable but safe experience, for example, by avoiding large crowds by visiting attractions out of peak times, or by only recommending restaurants that adhere to exceptional hygiene practices. Of course, in the unlikely event that something were to go wrong on the tour, all our tour managers have been specially trained and know exactly what to do.

Another valuable advantage offered in 2021 by escorted touring is departure dates. Our biggest departure months are traditionally September and October, which sit nicely outside the peak summer months of July and August. Depending on customer demand, we are able to increase capacity for these peak departure times too. Going away in September and October allows customers to not only avoid the heaving crowds, but also gives them the best chance of visiting restriction-free destinations, as the vaccine rollout continues across the world as we move further into 2021.

Escorted tours are no longer confined to the UK and Central Europe either. With such a wide range of destinations available, from short-haul breaks to Europe’s little-known corners to long-haul adventures to Asia, Africa and South America, you can tailor your promotions based on what’s popular in your area. This year, for example, we’ve already seen strong growth in South African tours and South American destinations.

During uncertain times in the past, and it’s fair to say the travel industry has had to weather more than our fair share, we’ve seen customers turn to the security and comfort that only come with an escorted tour, and 2021 will be no different.