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With a late April tour to Costa Rica, global tour operator Collette reached a happy milestone: a return to international travel following a yearlong hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dan Sullivan, Jr., CEO of Collette, joined 17 guests on the eight-night Tropical Costa Rica tour, with highlights including the scenery of Arenal Volcano, wildlife spotting on a river cruise and a guided walk in the cloud forest.
“We have spent many months coordinating and planning our health and wellness measures and are thrilled to resume offering international experiences to our guests,” Sullivan said in a statement. “The tourism industry has suffered significantly over the past year, and we see this return as an opportunity to make a positive impact in those communities.”
The tourism industry has suffered significantly over the past year, and we see this return as an opportunity to make a positive impact in those communities.
Collette resumed operating tours this month with 12 departures (both domestic and international). According to Jeff Roy, executive vice president of Collette, the brand has “37 tour itineraries with over 500 potential departure dates confirmed active for travel in 2021,” a list that he expects to expand in the coming months.
Thirty-five of those tours are being offered across North America, while international options include Costa Rica, Panama and Iceland. (A full list of tours set to depart in 2021 can be found on Collette’s website.)
Roy notes that the resumption of tours has coincided with a rise in interest and bookings for the company, as well.
“With travel restrictions continuing to ease, and more and more Americans becoming vaccinated, we are beginning to experience the long-awaited travel boom in the second half of 2021, and beyond,” he said. “We started to see our inquires nearly double over the winter, with bookings rivaling 2019 levels for same-year travel over the past several weeks, and a lot of close-in booking activity for the tours we have confirmed to operate.”
To reassure travelers, Collette’s Travel Protection Plan offers a full cash back refund for any guest who has to cancel for any reason up to 24 hours before departure, according to Roy.
And to support travel advisors, Collette is currently offering incentives for agents to book domestic tours through June 30, 2021 (for travel that takes place prior to the end of the year). Agents can earn $500 for every five new domestic bookings (single or double occupancy) for travel in the U.S. during 2021, and $1,500 for every 10 new bookings, with a required minimum of five new bookings in the U.S. for travel in 2021.
“We know that travel offers the possibility to learn about cultures, make friends and even explore somewhere never seen before,” Sullivan said. “Relaunching our international tours after more than a yearlong hiatus is an opportunity to get guests back to doing what they love.”