Last Word: Brett Dudley, founder & chairman, Latitude 33

Following on from the success of his cruise travel company, ecruising.travel, Brett Dudley went on to create and launch Latitude 33 in February 2016, specialising in luxury experiential cruise and land tours around the world. Here, we chat to Brett about how his love of travel has inspired him to create this unique company and the way it has enabled discerning travellers to experience the world.

When and how did you get your start in the travel industry?
20 years ago I was involved with a retail agency which was my introduction to a whole new world and lifestyle.

What is your favourite thing about travelling and what does travel mean to you?
My favourite thing is meeting new and interesting people, that’s what I love most about my travels. I’ve gathered a huge network of associates around the world which I can call on when required or catch up when I’m in their part of the world, it’s so cool.

Do you have a favourite destination that you enjoy returning to and why?
I love South America, it’s a huge country and there’s so much to see. I visit at least once a year and I’ve still only seen a part of it. It’s so diverse with some wonderful scenery, the capital cities of Chile and Argentina are amazing, with great wine and restaurants, I love them!

Tell us about Latitude 33 – why did you start it and what sets it apart?
ecruising was doing high end immersive cruise tours for more than 10 years but the name ecruising didn’t really conjure up a $50,000 or $70,000 holiday, so this is why I decided to start a new brand. Latitude 33 is a much better fit. Our biggest unique selling point is our longer stays – we never spend just one night anywhere, especially in remote places you might never return to, places like Africa and Easter Island, where we spend five nights giving you four full days. Some say it’s too much but when you think about it, you have time to relax and enjoy the first class hotels we use and you’re under no pressure to do every single tour, even though most do!

How would you describe the Latitude 33 traveller and what is the Summit Society?
Our clients are well-travelled and would not normally travel with a group, but when you are spending a certain amount on a holiday, you usually get like-minded and interesting people. For instance, on our recent South African tour, everyone got on really well, it was like a group of friends traveling together which is really nice to see. Summit Society is our loyalty program and offers a host of exclusive members-only rewards and benefits including advance tour releases, invitations to exclusive events and private transfers to and from a capital city airport.

Tell us about the Latitude 33 “Director’s Selection.”  
The Director’s Selection tours have been created and styled by myself and I will personally be accompanying these tours. I don’t enjoy packing and unpacking so on any tour I have designed, you will find there is plenty of time to relax and immerse yourself in the destination and culture. After all, travel is about the experience and allowing yourself to be mesmerised by the sights and sounds of your surroundings. We have a lot of regular travellers that I’ve gotten to know and it’s nice when I travel with these clients, some have become good friends.

When creating these immersive and experiential itineraries, where do you get your inspiration?
Travelling, conferences, magazines – just things that I see and want to experience myself, and it seems a lot of people want to experience the same things!

What has been your favourite or most memorable Latitude 33 experience so far?
That’s a tough one, there’s been so many. I think most memorable was on last year’s South American tour when we chartered a 737 to fly from Calama to Punta Arenas because the airlines went on strike – now that was one memorable day! We managed to get our clients’ holiday back on track and I’m sure it will be the topic of many dinner conversations for a long time to come.

What sort of tours, destinations and experiences can travellers look forward to in 2018?
We’ve got some new and exciting tours for 2018. If you’re a golfer, we’re taking a group of 20 to the Masters in Augusta, we have a 19-night South African golfing Safari in May and The Open championship in July. We’ve got a great Antarctica tour where you fly over the drake rather than cruise on it which means you spend more time exploring Antarctica. Our 41-night Ultimate African tour is just that, incorporating a 25-night cruise on Regent from Singapore to Cape Town, three nights at One&Only, a private jet throughout Africa, five nights’ exclusive use of  Earth Lodge, three nights at Victoria Falls hotel and two nights at the Four Seasons Johannesburg – it’ll be amazing! We’ve also got India, Mekong and a new Deserts and Glaciers 23-night cruise tour. We are adding more as the weeks go by to accommodate our growing new and repeat clientele.

And what about beyond 2018, whats your vision for the future?
You’ll have to wait and see what we have but we’ve got some pretty good ones in the pipeline!

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