Tours Feature a Go-Slow Policy

<i> Hughes is a 30-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks</i>

A New England tour company that started 70 years ago with short “touring car” trips in the East has been making its presence known among mature travelers in Southern California.

Collette Tours, which still maintains its head office in Pawtucket, R.I., has expanded over the years as it moved West. This year it offered more than 60 tours throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and the Orient.

“We feel we’ve become a leader in quality motor-coach travel,” Daniel Sullivan Jr., Collette’s general manager, said. “And of the more than 100,000 people we serve each year, mature travelers make up 75%.”

“We’ve found our mature traveler clients do not see themselves as ‘old,’ ” Jane Wilkinson, Collette’s marketing director, said. “They don’t put any emphasis on their age nor call attention to it. Neither do we. Thus, we don’t specify ‘mature’ or ‘seniors’ in our brochures.”


Pace Is Leisurely

Both Sullivan and Wilkinson maintain that the appeal to the mature traveler is in the style of their tours.

Whether domestic or international, the Collette concept is a “leisurely paced” tour with a balance of comprehensive sightseeing and free time, and many rest and picture-taking stops along the way.

With rare exceptions, overnight stops on Collette tours are at least two days. They feature top quality, name hotels, all central and convenient to shopping areas.


Another key is Collette’s meal policy, which includes a full breakfast and multicourse dinner.

Most of Collette’s summer and fall tours to New England, eastern Canada, the American and Canadian Rockies, Alaska and other areas have been completed for 1988. But all will be repeated next year.

Many of the tour company’s departures, such as to Florida and Hawaii, are offered all year. The 13-day, four-island Hawaii tour, featuring Sheraton hotels and 18 meals (including a luau and dinner show in the Monarch Room of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel) costs $1,699 per person, double occupancy, from Los Angeles ($100 higher for January through March departures).

Cajun Country

Some others still available include a nine-day Texas tour (Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Laredo, Houston) offered through December for $899 per person double plus air fare, and a nine-day tour of New Orleans, Mobile, Ala., Natchez, Miss., and Cajun country, with four November departures at $799 per person, double, plus air.

For 1989 Collette will also offer a wide program of escorted tours to Europe, China and the Orient, Australia and the South Pacific, plus an unusual Egypt/Africa tour.

This 19-day escorted tour includes the highlights of Egypt, with a four-day Nile cruise, then down to the game preserves of Kenya, with stops at the famed Treetops and the Mt. Kenya Safari Club. This one includes 35 meals, costs $3,499 per person double from New York City, and has 21 departure dates, January through October, 1989.

Tour information, plus Collette’s 1989 domestic and international tours, are available through travel agents, or contact Collette, 124 Broad St., Pawtucket, R.I. 02860, or call toll-free (800) 852-5655 or (401) 728-1000.