A reimagined ALBA Tours is rolling out in the marketplace as the 38-year-old company launches into destinations beyond its traditional Italy flight program and land touring, and Mediterranean cruise offering.
Three new brochures will be released throughout the coming weeks, including a 92-page 'Europe & the Mediterranean,' a 72-page 'Cruise Collection', and a 32-page 'Southern Hemisphere' product line.
The tour operator's new direction is taking it places that it has never been before, offering more choice to ALBA's repeat travellers, according to Firdosh Bulsara, vice-president commercial, ALBA, who is enthusiastically putting his stamp on this vision.
Destinations that can now be found in the Europe line-up include Greece, Turkey and Israel, plus long-stay options in Portugal. A Christian Europe tour also encompasses options in Spain and France. In addition, Ireland is making a comeback, having been part of ALBA offerings years ago.
Expanding on the Israel offering, Bulsara said four options are available, one in particular he believes will make inroads with ALBA's "loyal Italian market."
"This Israel program called The Bible Land is ideal because we’re combing that with the Vatican in Rome, so it becomes a natural for these folks, and that’s where we intend to have most of our groups," he said, noting they hope to see a 30 per cent growth in this segment and have all the tools available to equip travel agents to do so.
As for the Southern Hemisphere, this includes options in Ecuador & the Galapagos, Peru, and South Africa.
Bulsara admitted that thanks to product parallel to that under its sister brand Exotik Tours, there is more buying power to ensure the best rooms and rates.
All air seats and hotels have been blocked, and brochures will have two options listed: air-inclusive and land only. This is to open up the product beyond the YYZ hub (as it was in the past), making ALBA accessible to travellers from across Canada.
"So if you are sitting in British Columbia, you can buy your land-only product with an Intair flight," the VP explained.
Building on its cruise options with MSC Cruises, ALBA has expanded this portfolio to include transatlantic voyages for ship repositioning into the Caribbean and South America.
Recently retired President of ALBA Tours Gianni Bragagnolo has been supporting the growth of the brand into these destinations, Bulsara said. Plus, a dedicated reservations staff has been trained on the product to ensure consistency in service as trade partners have come to know it at ALBA, regardless of what destination is being booked.
More details of the new programs will be available as the brochures are released.