Holiday packages are getting the celebrity treatment. Jeremy Gates reports
It appears five minutes of fame is no longer enough. Nowadays, people want their whole holidays coloured by the celebrity world too, and ‘celebrity tourism’ packages are booming.
Take, as one simple example, how bookings for short hotel breaks near Highclere Castle – home of ITV’s hit Downton Abbey – have boomed by 150% in the last couple of years. The effect spreads much further afield too.
For devotees of TV smash hit I’m a Celebrity tour operator Dial A Flight has a three centre package in Queensland from £1,599, including return flights from London and Manchester on stays by December 10. It involves three nights in O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, where defeated stars stay for some pampering after their ejection from the show.
For another wildlife and celebrity themed break, tour operator Wendy Wu have recently asked TV star John Craven, presenter of BBC TV’s Countryfile and founder of Newsround, to become a UK Panda Ambassador at Chengdu Panda Base in China. Craven first visited the Sichuan Province for Newsround in 1986 and next September, he will guide visitors on ten-day Wendy Wu packages, from £2,590 each.
At P&O, Britain’s leading cruise line, top stars regularly entertain guests: singer Katherine Jenkins performs on a four-day voyage on Oriana, ex-Southampton on November 27 from £299, while Michael Ball stars on a ten-night cruise to the Baltic on Aurora, ex-Southampton on December 9, with a £399 lead-in.
On a more serious note, Desmond Tutu, the former archbishop of Cape Town will lecture on the Holland America Line cruise ship MS Amsterdam, as she sails between Durban and Cape Town, on the 113-night World Voyage in the Spring. Segments for the voyage start at £2,430.
Former Wimbledon and US Open star Tracy Austin holds a tennis camp at Curtain Bluff, Antigua, next Spring with other top professionals, Taylor Dent and Johan Kriek. Seven night all-inclusive stays at Curtain Bluff with tour operator Abercrombie & Kent start at £2,845, including flights and transfers.
For motor racing fans wanting to rub shoulders with Sebastien Vettel and Lewis Hamilton at The Monaco Grand Prix in 2015, there’s an 11-night package with cruise line Silversea and reserved tickets for the big race, start at £5,299, through cruise agency Readers Offers.
The Supertravel Ski Gourmet week offers Michelin chef Richard Phillips cooking in Courchevel 1850 in March 2014, with seven-night fully catered chalet breaks from £1,588, saving £150.