It’s going to be a week of firsts here at Virtuoso Travel Week. Travel Agent is on location at the Bellagio in Las Vegas as part of Virtuoso’s 26th annual event. As part of the conference, Virtuoso announced at their opening session that it was teaming up with National Geographic to promote the National Geographic Expeditions travel programs through Virtuoso’s global membership of agencies and advisors, and to collaborate on the development an launch of National Geographic Private Expeditions, a new line of trips geared toward independent travelers.
“Virtosos advisors will join a special program, limited to a small number of advisors, to become a National Geographic specialist,” said David Kolner, executive vice president of consumer for Virtuoso at a press conference. “At the same time we’re exploring how advisor servicing can work. we’re looking at enhanced commissions and access to the Private Expeditions inventory.”
Travelers will be able to choose from about 20 specially crafted itineraries, and then select the dates they want to travel and with whom they wish to travel. The itineraries will embody experiential travel and will be built with guidance from National Geographic’s team of experts. The expeditions will launch in the fall.
“We are very excited to have a broad array of travel offerings now available to all of the Virtuoso members’ clients,” said Lynn Cutter, executive vice president, travel and licensing, at the National Geographic Society. “The programs range from natural history and cultural explorations to active adventures, family trips, photography trips and workshops.” There will also be small ship expeditions with National Geographic’s partnership with Lindblad.
“Some advisors may have been selling away from National Geographic because the company has not been affiliated with any consortia,” says Kolner. “What a relief for Virtuoso network clients. They can finally wholeheartedly recommend it.”