"Flashpackers" drive rise in deluxe globe-trotting

Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:13am EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - "Flashpackers" and "Boardroom Backpackers" are driving a rise in business and first class around-the-world flights, online flight specialists Round the World Experts said Friday.

Sales of such tickets have leaped 166 percent in the past six months, growing 55 percent in the last three months alone, it has found.

The company puts the surge in demand down to cash-rich professionals taking a career break or those using the money they might have spent on a holiday home.

It said it had recently seen its biggest ever single round the world booking -- a 50,000-pound ($78,130) first class world tour which incorporated five-star stops in Asia and Australia, luxury yacht charter in the Whitsunday islands and a place on the lead boat for the Sydney New Year's Eve flotilla.

"We're seeing the growth of a new, completely different type of round the world traveler with demand for business and first class itineraries trebling in the last six months," said Round the World Experts Head of Marketing Paul Bondsfield in a statement.

The people going on these trips are mostly over-50s professionals who still have a burning ambition to see the world and experience new cultures, he said.

"They are inspired by younger travelers and are looking for similar experiences in the same destinations, but with an added element of comfort."

Bondsfield said the trend for graduates moving back into the family home is also encouraging parents to take big adventure trips as they know their homes are being looked after while they are away.

He said that for many adventurers, a major world holiday is a more attractive alternative to investing in overseas or holiday properties.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato; Editing by Steve Addison)