Since launching in North America six years ago, U.K.-based tour operator Topdeck Travel has seen its original travel destination draw a new generation of travellers.
The youth-focused tour operator has recently seen a spike in travel to Morocco by Canadians, according to Nick Shuttleworth, Topdeck’s director of sales for North America; last year, the 10-day Morocco trip was Topdeck’s best selling package, he said.
According to Shuttleworth, Morocco has a special place in Topdeck’s story – the company’s first trip in 1973 was a London-Morocco journey by double-decker bus.
Shuttleworth said Morocco is often a bucket list destination many Canadians are looking to cross off.
“Morocco is great for the Canadian travellers, since they tend to be a little bit more adventurous,” he said. “It’s probably next on the list after Egypt, and if they’ve done Europe and Australia, Morocco is often the next destination that people want to mark off the list.”
For 2015, Shuttleworth said that a new 17-day Morocco Unplugged package has been crafted, giving travellers a “complete Morocco experience,” from the casbahs of Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains of North Africa and the Sahara Desert.
Trips to Turkey are also on the rise, Shuttleworth said. Bookings of Topdeck’s 12-day Turkey package have increased, as have the company’s all-inclusive, eight-day sailing trip, taking groups of 14 or less along the Turkish coastline.
While ongoing conflicts in the Middle East may keep some travellers from considering a trip to the region, Shuttleworth said that safety is a top concern for the company and that group tours operated in the region are carefully planned out.
“We all have local operators on the ground, and we would never operate a trip if there was any danger,” he said. “All transport is by a Topdeck coach as well, so it’s a really safe and secure way to travel.”
Shuttleworth said that for today’s young travellers, adventure and value are among the top considerations.
“In Europe for example, they still want to see the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum, but younger traveller today want to do things like sailing around Croatia or the Greek Islands,” Shuttleworth said. “Travellers aren’t looking for the cheapest option, but they want something that includes meals, guides or staying in local accommodations. That’s what they seem to be craving these days.”