Sasha Andrews – Industry Sales & Marketing, Exodus Travels

Sasha Andrews – Industry Sales & Marketing, Exodus Travels

Sasha Andrews – Industry Sales & Marketing, Exodus TravelsExperts in adventure holidays, Exodus Travels is starting 2016 on the right foot with new tours and a continued commitment to providing off-the-beaten-path enriching experiences. We ask Sasha Andrews, Industry Sales & Marketing, about what’s on the agenda for the new year, the state of adventure travel today and what she foresees on the horizon.

1. What’s new for Exodus in 2016 – can you give us a brief product overview of new tours and returning favourites for 2016?

We have some fabulous new guided and self-guided product on offer for 2016, including three new food adventures in Sicily, India and Vietnam, as well as designated food departures on trips to Thailand and Morocco. These holidays provide plenty of indulging moments for our travellers to savour the exotic tastes of each destination. On these adventures, food is more than just fuel. It is the essence of a place and a crucial part of understanding the nuances and customs of its people.

The Philippines, Iran and West Indies are new destinations for 2016. We also launched new cycling trips to Madagascar, Kilimanjaro, Romania, Portugal and the Lake District of Chile and Argentina.

We’ve also been receptive to the needs of North American clients by offering suggested combinations of our most popular European itineraries so that they can extend their adventure for a full two-week trip abroad. The seamless combos can be found in our brochures, on our website and in our trip notes.

Some of our best-selling returning trips include ‘Walking the Amalfi Coast’, ‘Cycling Vietnam’, ‘Cycling Cuba’ and our varied hiking itineraries in the Mont Blanc region.

2. For anyone unfamiliar with the company, what’s the Exodus story?

Exodus first launched on Feb. 4, 1974 in the U.K. when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments.

Our philosophy is to travel courteously and respectfully, and in smaller groups to minimize our impact on the environment and to ensure that every Exodus adventure is a beneficial and rewarding experience for everyone involved.

Over the last 42 years, we’ve experienced exponential growth in new and repeat bookings from both Canadian and American travellers, so we decided to open up our first North American office in 2014, based in Toronto.

3. Can you talk a bit about the exponential rise in interest in experiential travel, and how the Exodus touring style taps into that trend?

Adventure travel is one of the fastest growing sectors in travel today. We want to help more agents navigate this exciting space and share bucket list adventures with their clients who are looking to create lifetime memories and connect with diverse cultures.

Our combination of local accommodation, award-winning local leaders and world-class itineraries ensures that clients will experience each destination in a way that they’ll never forget.

4. How do you connect with travel agents?

At Exodus, we understand how valuable travel agents are in selling our trips, so we want to reward them for their loyalty and support them with a little loyalty of our own. In addition to 15% commission, we created the Agent Adventure Club to best reward our partners for assisting us in helping more people see the world differently. The ongoing incentive is simple: for every 10 bookings made, agents will earn a free spot on any one of our tours valued at $2,500.

We provide all AAC agents access to exclusive discounts and promotions before they are released, including deep discounts on all Exodus holidays (excluding Polar) for agents and companions. We also host monthly training webinars, bi-monthly incentives, contests and more chances to earn incredible prizes through this platform.

5. What travel trends does Exodus see breaking through in 2016?

We recently released our Top 10 Adventure Travel Trends for 2016, which includes the rise of the female solo traveller, experiential adventures to Cuba and taking the road less travelled in Eastern Europe.

Women travellers have tipped the tourism scales in the last couple years and we saw a huge 40% increase in our number of female solo travellers in 2015, a trend that is gaining momentum in 2016 because of social media and the added safety provided by experiential group travel. Best of all, our solo tours do not have a single supplement and upgrades to private rooms are available for as little as $20 a night.

With the rumblings of new laws for Americans travelling to Cuba, we’ve seen a huge surge of interest from Canadians wanting to beat the crowds and go beyond the beaches and all-inclusive resorts. In 2016, we see more Canadians searching for authentic local encounters and active ways to experience Cuba’s epic historic sites, bucolic countryside, incredible art, music and dance. We offer a range of trips to Cuba, but they are selling out quickly so we recommend booking soon.

We’ve also seen a trend of Europe buffs moving further east to uncover a welcome refuge from the well-trodden paths of Italy, France, Croatia and Switzerland, and to immerse themselves in a collision of ‘east meets west’ cultures. Romania, Bosnia and Slovenia will steal the European spotlight in 2016, and we have a diverse collection of cultural immersion trips and active adventures in Eastern Europe to suite all interests and activity levels.

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