When Tauck begins operating its first 2011 trips in Europe next month, the company will celebrate its 20th anniversary on the continent and mark the expansion of its diverse European portfolio with nearly a dozen new itineraries. Tauck reports the new trips include a pair of river cruises on the Rhone, several additions to the company’s classic Tauck World Discovery land programs, new Tauck Bridges family itineraries in Italy and the Swiss/Austrian Alps, and two new trips in the company’s Culturious collection of active, immersive, small-group experiences for boomer-age travelers.
Tauck’s says expansion to a total of 49 itineraries in Europe comes on the heels of robust growth there in 2010, and amid additional, double-digit gains in 2011 pre-season bookings. As a result, Tauck is boosting departures to Europe by 15 percent to help meet demand in 2011.
Tauck CEO Dan Mahar cites the economic rebound as one reason for Tauck’s strong success in Europe, but of equal importance at least says Mahar, has been the company’s continued investment in its products.
“Even when the economy stalled, we continued to add new experiences to our existing itineraries, we continued developing new trips, and we expanded our riverboat fleet by christening the ms Swiss Jewel and committing to the ms Treasures, which we’ll launch in August,” said Mahar. “That sustained investment in the quality of our products has positioned us perfectly to take full advantage of the recovery now underway,” Mahar said.
According to Mahar, Tauck’s investment translates into insider access to unique, authentic and “off-the-beaten-path” experiences that guests can’t get on their own – a hallmark of Tauck’s European tours since their introduction in 1991 under the banner, “The Yellow Roads of Europe.”
Named for the scenic secondary roads highlighted in yellow on Michelin’s road maps of Europe, Tauck’s first European tours eschewed high-speed freeways in favor of those scenic secondary roads and the more authentic and traditional experiences to be found along them.
Twenty years later, says Mahar, that philosophy endures and Tauck continues to seek out and provide exclusive, authentic, and unique experiences. “Our guests enjoy private, after-hours tours of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, they have dinner inside the Tower of London after it’s closed to the public, and they have private dinners in the homes and palaces of nobility in Vienna, Prague and the Loire Valley,” said Mahar. “That sort of access simply isn’t available to the average independent traveler.”
Mahar also pointed to the deep personal connections that guests make with the local people they’re introduced to on Tauck trips, from an art restoration specialist in Florence, to an Irish family living on a small dairy farm, to a boat builder in Venice whose family has handcrafted gondolas there for five generations. Adding to the appeal of Tauck’s European trips, Mahar said, are the exceptional value the company delivers, the quality of Tauck’s professional tour directors, and the convenience of true, all-inclusive pricing.
Tauck is also marking its 20th anniversary in Europe by reducing the cost and the confusion of flying to the continent. The company recently launched a Take-Off With Tauck program that offers travelers simple, transparent, two-tiered pricing on airfare to Europe ($1,090 per person for all roundtrip economy fares and $2,990 per person for business). The fares are all-inclusive, with no added taxes, fuel surcharges or hidden fees, and they apply to new bookings for departures from select U.S. air gateways booked by March 31, 2011 for travel to Europe from April 1 - August 31, 2011.
Tauck’s new itineraries in Europe for 2011 include:
Tauck World Discovery land journeys
o A Week In… Venice, Florence & Rome (8 days, from $3,590 pp, dbl, plus air)
o A Week In… Bavaria, Austria & Venice (8 days, from $3,590 pp, dbl, plus air)
o A Week In… Ireland (8 days, from $3,390 pp, dbl, plus air)
o The Best of Ireland (14 days, from $5,190 pp, dbl, plus air)
o The Art of Living: Barcelona to Paris (13 days, from $5,890 pp, dbl, plus air)
Tauck river cruises
o French Waterways and Vineyards (10 days, from $4,490 pp, dbl, plus air)
o French Escapade: Monte-Carlo to Paris (14 days, from $5,990 pp, dbl, plus air)
Tauck Culturious active, immersive journeys for boomer-age travelers
o Venice & the Veneto (8 days, from $3,990 pp, dbl, plus air)
o Paris & the Loire Valley (8 days, from $3,990 pp, dbl, plus air)
Tauck Bridges family itineraries
o The Sweet Life: Rome & Sorrento (7 days, from $3,214 pp, dbl, plus air)
o Alpine Adventure (8 days, from $3,941 pp, dbl, plus air)