Insight Vacations welcomed a small group of travel partners to its 2015 Europe launch this week, to discover what’s in store for what the company has dubbed its Signature Year.
During the event, held at Toronto’s Il Fornello restaurant, Insight Vacations president Cris David revealed details of the new Europe program, which will include 14 new itineraries across the continent and many new Signature packages, a concept introduced last year that provides travelers with authentic experiences on their tours, from dining with residents and visiting places known only to locals, to staying in hotels and other accommodations where tourists will feel at home in their chosen destination.
“For 2015, we’re taking the concept of Signature to the next level,” David told PAX. “We’re introducing hundreds of Signature experiences – we now have a range of 80 Signature hotels across Europe. Our Signature Dining has been enhanced with new concepts like more evenings where guests can experience the local culture, like flamenco in Seville, classical music in Vienna or operetta in Rome. We’re also introducing Signature Evenings, because there’s more to touring than just what happens during the day. The night is when a lot of European cities come alive and we want our guests to experience that with local entertainment and traditional dining.”
Among the new itineraries are two new Italy packages - the Country Roads of Puglia and the Neapolitan Riviera and Country Roads of Umbria and Tuscany, which David said will take travellers “off the beaten track to more unique smaller destinations outside of the mainstream tourist circuit.” Insight is also offering the Dalmation Elegance package this year, which features a nine-day cruise on a ‘mega-yacht’ transporting 38 guests along the Mediterranean shores and islands of southern Croatia.
Insight will also resume tours to Egypt with four itineraries for 2015, following restored confidence in the country as an international travel destination. Itineraries there include Nile River cruises as well as a combined package with Jordan.
David told PAX that in 2014, Insight saw a surge in its Britain and Ireland itineraries (surpassing even the popular Italy packages) which he attributed to both a strong Canadian dollar and the carryover effect from the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Television host and renowned actress Lisa Ray, known for her roles in films such as Hollywood/Bollywood, will also return as Insight’s brand ambassador for 2015, a partnership which David said is raising awareness of Insight’s India itineraries, which the company has offered since 2011. In addition to promoting India, Ray has also appeared in promotional videos for other Insight destinations such as Italy.
“Lisa’s a big part of our story,” David told PAX. “She’s a great spokesperson and ambassador for us and we’re very proud to have her a partner.”
Insight’s coaches are also now equipped with WiFi, allowing travellers to keep in touch with family and friends back home via e-mail and social media during their travels. David added that single travellers will also be able to take advantage of reduced or waived single room supplements on many itineraries this coming year.
In addition, Insight’s Gold Luxury packages will now include the cost of sightseeing and all evening meals, a new development for 2015.
A new Insight website has also been launched, said David, making the online experience quicker and easier to navigate with new agent resources.
For early bookings, Insight is currently offering up to a 10 per cent discount until Jan. 15, 2015. After that date, a discount of up to 7.5 per cent will be offered until Feb. 26, followed by a savings of up to five per cent for bookings made prior to April 30.