Cosmos builds on WYD success

The Australian arm of Cosmos is preparing to bid for a second stint as the official tour operator of World Youth Day (WYD) when the event is held in Panama in 2019, coming after its success in Poland last year.

The budget tour specialist hosted more than 3,500 young Australian pilgrims as they travelled to the city of Krakow for WYD 2016, joining a series of specially created pre- and post-event tours in Poland and other parts of Europe with Catholic significance.

Globus family of brands national marketing manager Chris Fundell said Cosmos had received an outpouring of positive feedback based on the WYD product it created for the Australian pilgrims.

He said not only had the 2016 event been a great success, but the knock-on effects WYD had generated for the company had been particularly pleasing.

“It was a great experience,” Fundell said. “It has helped generate a lot of new leads for our spiritual products, not just ones from our brochure but our custom group itineraries too,” he said.

These customised itineraries usually blend together trip ideas from the European brochure and the religious tours program, with clients drawing inspiration from both before working closely with Cosmos to include additional sites and services.

“The religious travel program allows people to explore Europe and the Holy Lands in more detail than a regular tour, travelling with specialist guides and meeting other travellers with a shared interest,” Fundell said.

Most of the groups making these custom itinerary requests come from church groups, schools or cultural communities. For clients to be eligible for custom trips they simply need a group of 20 or more passengers.

Fundell said it was common for itineraries to be built around a major global event, such as this year’s 100th anniversary of the Our Lady of Fatima apparitions in central Portugal, expected to draw pilgrims from around the world in May to visit a shrine in the Portuguese town of Fatima.

Both Cosmos and its parent brand Globus offer a range of specialist religious tours in destinations across Europe and the Holy Lands.