When you want to commune with lions and elephants without roughing it, you go with Abercrombie & Kent USA (A&K USA). It is the American arm of Luxembourg-based Abercrombie & Kent Group, which provides luxury travel packages (including safaris, cruises, and train travel) to places like the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, and Egypt. Travelers are accompanied by local guides who are employees, not subcontractors. The company also has a private vacation option called the Marco Polo Club, which offers discounts and other perks. Chairman and CEO Geoffrey Kent and executive vice chairman Jorie Butler Kent lead Abercrombie & Kent. A&K's roots reach back to 1962, when it was founded as a safari company in Kenya.
Geoffrey Kent was born while his parents were on safari in Zambia. After growing up in Africa, he founded Abercrombie & Kent with his parents. The younger Kent expanded the company over the years, opening offices in London and the US. A&K owns a fleet of Sun Boats (on the Nile river), safari lodges in Botswana and other locations, and exclusive camping rights in Africa. The company's Residence Club is a time-share option for the well-to-do. Members get to enjoy luxury homes in places like Belize, the West Indies, Egypt, and in the US at ski, golf, and beach resorts.
A&K USA has noted that family vacations are accounting for an increasing portion of its bookings. Families generated about 20% of bookings in 2011, compared to about 5% in 2006. Indeed, spending on travel has been on the up-and-up since the US economy has been recovering from the deep recession.
In late 2010 Abercrombie & Kent USA agreed to repay about 550 clients who had invested £125 million in a time-share operation. The settlement came as a result of the company failing to disclose it was licensing its name to Tanner & Haley Destination Clubs, which went bankrupt in 2006. Tanner & Haley clients said they believed they were joining a club operated by A&K, and so they pursued the company for compensation after Tanner & Haley went out of business. (The names of the Tanner & Haley ventures were Private Retreats by Abercrombie & Kent and Distinctive Retreats by Abercrombie & Kent, and the soaps used by Tanner & Haley were embossed with A&K's name.) – less