BY, SUSAN CHOU
PUBLIC RELATIONS COORDINATOR
Philip Cappelli started working in the travel industry 18 years ago as a supervisor in the reservations department of Tauck, the Norwich, Conn.-based tour operators. He was later promoted to director of North American sales. He joined Insight Vacations in 2011 as vice president of sales development and national accounts. In 2014 he was promoted to president. TravelPulse recently caught up with Cappelli to find out about the new programs being offered by Insight Vacations in 2017.
TravelPulse: What new offerings is Insight Vacations presenting for 2017?
Phil Cappelli: I’m very excited about our new Southeast Asia programs and South America programs. We’re venturing into Brazil, Argentina, Chile and the Galapagos Islands for the first time, as well as Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. One tour that I’m particularly proud of is our Grand Tour of South America, which will expose guests to some of the continent’s most exquisite cities and landmarks, from Lima and Machu Picchu to Lake Titicaca, Santiago, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.
TP: What consumer trends are you responding to with your new products?
PC: Insight has always been the leader in Europe, where we travel to more than 46 countries. Since Europe is holding strong, we wanted to further expand our footprint and bring our signature Insight style and product hallmarks to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos as well as South America, Australia, and New Zealand. Europe will always be a consumer and market favorite, but guests are more open to and excited about visiting other “exotic” options as well.
TP: What destinations do you expect to be strong in 2016-17, and why?
PC: Starting at home, our National Parks itineraries have truly received incredible feedback and many Americans are putting them at the very top of their bucket lists. I expect Italy to continue to do well, along with Spain and Portugal. I am confident that our new products will do quite well as we’ve noticed demand from past Insight guests looking for new destinations with a company they know and trust.
TP: What destinations are cooling off?
PC: I wouldn’t use the term “cooling off,” but some Eastern Mediterranean countries might not do as well for a little while. However, I’m confident this trend will be short-lived as there are some phenomenal destinations (like Turkey and Egypt) that I think will come back into prominence in the near future.
TP: Which of your travel styles and niches are trending upward?
PC: Luxury travel will continue to be quite strong in 2017, and we are positioned nicely in the market. Multigenerational groups are also steadily gaining interest, something we’ve long recognized for doing well, along with small group travel – which we will formally roll out with our Luxury Gold program.