‘We really haven’t seen any of that abating yet. I would say there were still about 25% of our clients who held off travelling in 2023 and are ready to go now that they are certain that Covid related concerns like closed borders are behind us.
‘On top of that, the people who travelled in 2023 are ready to do it again.’
Lyons refers to one client who is taking his third trip in 12 months with the company in April and his fourth in May.
‘That includes a high-end trip to Asia, another to Africa and two to Europe. So he is embracing the border reopening with vigour.
‘We’ve seen a lot of people who travelled with us last year already booked for 2024.’
Lyons says both East and Southern Africa are among World Journeys’ stars for 2024.
‘A big factor is that we are getting more air connectivity. A lot of people going to East Africa who don’t use the Qantas service (to Johannesburg) are heading through the Gulf on Qatar Airways or Emirates. Having the South African Airways flight from Perth back in April will also help.’
In terms of Europe, Lyons says that Croatia and Turkey are among the stand-outs, while the traditional destinations of Italy, France, Spain and Portugal are selling well.
‘We are also getting massive interest in Iceland, to the point that availability is a problem. Iceland is basically sold out for June and July.’
He says luxury train travel is also trending well – including products like Golden Eagle that operates in various locations including through the Stans and Europe.
‘Clients unpack once and their hotel is rolling along to different places each day with five-star food and service. I call it land cruising.
‘In Asia the perennial favourite Japan is booming, particularly in cherry blossom season, while Vietnam is selling exceptionally well, says Lyons.
‘South America is bouncing back too and we’re seeing a lot of interest in Mexico. One of the reasons is that airfares to the USA are coming down and a lot of carriers will get clients down to Mexico for an extra $50.’