Interview with Kathy Cook
Joint MD of Ramblers Worldwide Holidays

Peter Morrell talks to Kathy about Adagio their new gentle walking programme

Kathy Cook

Ramblers Worldwide Holidays (RWH) has just launched Adagio, a new brand aimed at a different type of walker. To find out more about it and their plans for the future who better to ask than joint MD Kathy Cook who has been with the company for 30 years

We started by talking about how the Adagio walking holidays differed from the usual tours offered by RWH. The first point Kathy makes is that RW Holidays are for experienced hikers who are quite fit whereas the Adagio walking programme is more geared to the casual walker who prefers to get some fresh air with a stroll around the park rather than a trek up a mountain path. Adagio walking is a softer and more gentle experience.

The second big distinction is that Adagio holidays include all transportation and the accommodation is of a slightly higher grade. The final aspect is that the emphasis is on culture as well as walking. Kathy explained that the Adagio itineraries have been designed to cater for the element of enrichment that many people now look for in their holiday. The one big thing that will not change is the camaraderie that guests enjoy on an RWH trip that comes from being with a group of like-minded people.

Kathy went on to say that RWH had done a lot of market research and found that although people are living longer and still like activity holidays they may not be as physically fit as they were. This is the niche that the Adagio itineraries seek to fill.

It is expected that two thirds of their guests will have taken an RWH trip before and the other third to be new to the walking holiday experience. Travellers will be predominantly couples but the tours are equally suitable for singles who will enjoy the sense of inclusion created by the flexible format.

There is a range of holidays on offer and although they have only been available since October places are being snapped up.. The ‘Lazy Alps’ tour, that offers a combination of trains and ski lifts to places that give you the views but without the effort, is already full

There is also the opportunity to get immersed in the local culture with wine tastings, workshops and sampling of local produce. For example, the tour to Quinta Bonita, a luxurious boutique hotel in the Algarve, includes a trip to the local food market in Lagos and a visit to a local organic vineyard.

The other major new development is a partnership with AMAWaterways for riverboat cruises on the Rhone, Rhine and Danube. You can watch the spectacular architecture slip by while dining in style with local wines and beer which are included in the price. For those feeling energetic, one of the fun options is to borrow one of the onboard bikes and cycle to the next destination rather than stay on the boat.

All of the holidays have a dedicated tour leader who looks after the well-being of everyone in the group and also interprets the sights so that visitors get the most from the excursions. Kathy notes that in their experience people like the groundwork to be done before they arrive in a destination and as the leaders are all specialists in their localities they are well qualified to meet this need. And as Kathy pointed out, with more than 67 years of experience in running trips like this RWH is a knowledgeable and trustworthy tour operator.

Looking to the future Kathy says that the range of Adagio holidays will expand with trips of longer duration and further afield. These will evolve based on the feedback of their guests.

We finished by talking about the RWH’s charitable work, particularly their Walking Partnership where they are funding 250-300 walking groups in the UK to encourage walking and exercise at the grass roots level.

Asked to sum up the new tours from Adagio Kathy said she would describe them as offering more comfort, good value and a home from home while taking the stress out of the holiday experience.

For more information about the new Adagio programme go to www.adagio.co.uk and for more about Ramblers Worldwide Holidays go to www.ramblersholidays.co.uk

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