Tauck, A&K add Papua New Guinea itineraries for ’07
By David Cogswell
Papua New Guinea is no mass-market
destination, but the word is that demand
for the South Pacific island nation is on
Abercrombie & Kent and Tauck World
Discovery are both offering new programs
to Papua New Guinea for 2007, while Travcoa, which has been offering tours there
since the early 1970s, reports increased interest in the destination.
“The flavor of the month it’s not,” said
Louise Shumbris, director of product operations and development for Travcoa. “It’s
not as hot as India, but it’s pretty hot. It’s on
the upswing. Things go in and out of favor.
Who knows what sparks it?”
Tauck and A&K are taking very different
approaches to the destination.
Tauck is launching an 15-day itinerary, including an 11-night cruise aboard
the Orion. The itinerary features meetings
with local tribes, canoe rides with villagers
Give them a holiday to remember.
and a snorkeling adventure to discover the
wrecks of four Japanese Zero fighter planes
that were shot down during World War II.
The cost of the program is $8,490 per person, not including air.
There are two departures, both in
“It’s very challenging to operate there,”
said President Robin Tauck. “It took two
years for Orion Cruises to create the
proper arrangements with all the little
villages. Some are so remote they don’t
have communications. Almost all don’t
have telephones; some still communicate
Though the Orion can carry 106 guests,
the group is limited to 92 because of the
limitations of the charter flights.
Abercrombie & Kent, which has been offering private trips to Papua New Guinea
since the early 1990s, introduced a program
in 2006 that combined it with northern
Australia. In 2007 it is introducing a program to New Guinea only.
“What we found was that an awful lot
of our clients wanted to go to Papua New
Guinea but had already gone to Australia,”
said Pamela Lassers, A&K’s director of media relations.
A&K offers a 13-night land expedition,
including three days exploring the Sepik
River on the Sepik Spirit.
“Ours is a small-group, escorted journey
Tauck World Discovery President Robin Tauck with tribesmen
in Papua New Guinea.
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through the country, including the highlands — the most remote area — and three
remote lodges,” said Lassers.
The price of the tour is $7,990 per person, double occupancy, plus $1,715 for internal air. Transpacific air is not included.
With 4 million residents speaking 800
languages and little interaction with the
world outside, Papua New Guinea is one
destination that remains relatively isolated
from mass tourism, Shumbris said. And
that in itself is an increasingly rare attraction in a globalizing world.
“It’s an unusual destination that’s never
going to be trampled by thousands of people, because you can’t get there,” she said.
“It’s remote. You have to be an intrepid
traveler to want to make the trip.”
Travcoa’s program today is similar to
what the operator offered in the 1970s.
The 16-day trip includes eight nights in
hotels and five days cruising the Sepik River, which Travcoa promotes as “a journey
into the wild and vibrant heart of Papua
The price tag is $6,695 per person, double occupancy, plus $2,700 for intratour air.
Transpacific air is not included.