SANTA MONICA — Small-group specialist Back-Roads Touring Company has rebranded in North America as Blue-Roads Touring Company, as part of a global growth strategy.
“We see a lot of opportunity in North America,” said Ed Pettitt, general manager of Blue-Roads Touring. “North American travellers are placing a premium on authentic experiential-based travel, which has been our prime focus for more than three decades. Relaunching and expanding our presence in North America is key to successfully building the business across all markets globally.”
The operator was founded as the Back-Roads Touring Company in 1986 and built its brand and reputation through its U.K. and France tours, with a focus on World War I and II battlefield tours.
Since then the company has expanded its itineraries, selling European tours that offer authentic, one-of-a-kind experiences, from a taste of Tuscany to a Burgundy barge cruise, to a journey across Norwegian fjords, glaciers and waterfalls.
Earlier this year, the company added its first Asian tours, with stops in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Back-Roads is also seeing considerable interest from North American passengers, says Pettitt, part of the rationale for the rebrand.
He adds that the new Blue-Roads Touring Company name was inspired by American historian and travel writer William Least Heat-Moon, who set out on a 13,000-mile journey with his Rand McNally atlas, vowing only to take the routes marked in blue. Without even knowing it, he had coined a new phrase: blue roads, which describes that coastal road, winding way, side street or country road.
Focusing on quality over quantity, Pettitt says Blue-Roads takes travellers off-the-beaten-path, from truffle hunting in LaBelle, France to a visit to Switzerland’s last alphorn-maker’s workshop. The brand is also a leader in culinary experiences, taking food-lovers to hidden-gem restaurants and beyond, like Tenuta Seliano, a farm in Capaccio-Paestum, Italy, where guests watch a baronessa make fresh mozzarella and participate in a farm-fresh cooking class.
With a maximum of 14-to-18 passengers per tour, groups travel in specially built mini-coaches like Mercedes-Benz Sprinters while staying in properties that mirror the local surroundings, from charming boutique hotels to majestic castles.
As part of the rebrand, Blue-Roads is launching a new website and has created new social channels and marketing collateral, all of which speaks to the North American traveller’s unique needs and interests, says Pettitt.
For further information on Blue-Roads see blueroadstouring.com/.