When travel tycoon Geoffrey Kent launched a world tour by private jet—priced at $105,000—he wasn't sure how it would sell.
But the tour, which included feasts on the Amazon, spas in Samoa and wildlife treks through the Masai Mara, sold out in less than a month and the waiting list for the 26-day tour grew to more than 50 people.
"There are a lot of wealthy people today who have the money to travel and want to see the world," he said. "They are money rich and time poor. This is a great way to see as much of the world as possible in a short amount of time. And to really enjoy it."
The wealth boom is combining with the global travel bug to fuel a surge in private jet tours—hyperexclusive, month-long trips aboard custom-built jets that drop in on exotic countries for the finest meals and hotels. Several high-end tour companies, hotels and concierge businesses have launched or expanded their private jet tours. Even scientific and educational nonprofits like National Geographic are getting into the act.
The wealthy, they say, want to buy special experiences more than things these days. And jet tours give them the chance to check off many of their bucket-list travel locations in one trip—and in style.
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"People are willing to spend for these incredible experiences," said Lynn Cutter, executive vice president, National Geographic Travel, which is running five private jet trips this year and will have six next year.
Kent, the legendary travel guide and founder of luxury travel agency Abercrombie & Kent, has launched two private jet tours. The first, called "Africa: Around a Continent by Private Jet" will be in the spring of 2014. It is sold out.
The company has added a second departure. The trip costs $79,995 per person for a couple and $94,990 for single travelers.