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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

A Move Upscale Sees Club Med Enter A New Era Of Success


Club Med's chairman of the board and chief executive officer, Henri Giscard d'Estaing was in Sydney on Monday night to update the market on a significant programme of refurbishment underway in Asia Pacific. Since 2004 over $US51 million has been allocated to renovate Club Med resorts in Asia Pacific alone.

Since taking the reins of Club Med in 2002, Mr Giscard d'Estaing has led Club Med in an extensive renovation programme. In just the past two years Club Med has launched or re-opened ten resorts around the world, renovated six properties and closed five as part of its bid to appeal to a more sophisticated travel market. Mr Giscard d'Estaing says, "We are targeting families and couples who want upscale, all-inclusive and multicultural holidays and aiming to provide a broad range of choice to suit a variety of tastes."

The move to appeal to sophisticated travellers has motivated the creation of a new range of refined properties with a '5 Trident' rating. Closest to Australia, just eight hours from Perth, Club Med has built a $US75 million dollar resort on the west coast of Mauritius, Club Med La Plantation d'Albion. In Marrakech Morocco, Club Med Le Riad also boasts the '5-Trident' standard and this year Club Med will upgrade the unique 187 metre sailing ship Club Med 2 making it the third '5 –Trident' experience.

The '4-Trident' Club Med Bali in Nusa Dua will also open in December this year after a significant refurbishment adding a wider variety of room choices including lavish suites, an extensive Mandara spa with 12 treatment rooms, two Turkish Hammams and two saunas and new common areas. Just 55 minutes off the coast of Singapore, Club Med Bintan Island has undergone a $US6.5 Million refurbishment and will be launched in September this year. In recent years the forward thinking company has also refurbished its ski resort in Sahoro Japan, created a 1000 square metre Mini Club Med for children within Club Med Phuket and added 75 luxurious over water bungalows to Club Med Kani in the Maldives.

One of the world's largest ski operators, Club Med has also refurbished nine ski resorts in the last three years in a bid to offer Australians the best value for money, sophisticated ski experience in Europe and Japan's the most popular ski fields of Europe and Japan. Close to Australia, Club Med Sahoro was relaunched in November 2007 and offers all-inclusive ski and snowboarding holidays for the whole family.

Appealing to a more upscale market represents an exciting new chapter for this iconic brand which has become a household name in Australia since the first office opened in Sydney in 1975 offering exotic holidays to New Caledonia and Tahiti. Since then, over half a million Australians have visited one of 80 Club Med resorts around the world.

The new signature "Club Med - Where Happiness Means the World" maintains the company's long held conviction that by removing financial and social constraints, Club Med's all–inclusive holidays offer guests the freedom to enjoy whatever makes them happy; whether that is relaxing, socialising, participating in sports or discovering new cultures.

This theme of happiness has been core to Club Med's offering since its post war origins when French water-polo player Gerard Blitz offered holidays to his tent city in AndalucĂ­a, saying 'the time to be happy is now and the place to be happy is here.' The offer of a carefree exotic holiday attracted 2,300 people in the first summer of 1950 and strong demand meant more than 10,000 people were turned away. Continuing popularity of the concept meant rapid expansion for the altruistic Club which developed from a non-profit organisation to become publicly listed in 1967 and eventually one of the world's largest resort operators.

The promise of happiness has persisted throughout 58 years of adaptation and pioneering change and undoubtedly contributed to Club Med's enduring popularity. Over the years Club Med continued to innovate to attract guests. Ski, sun resorts as well as cruise ships were opened, the popular kid's club concept was created and an exclusive internal currency was introduced in the form of a beaded necklace. Club Med's latest great innovation is Club Med Passworld (now available at Cherating Beach and other selected resorts). Passworld is an innovative space where teens can mix music, make videos, participate in jewellery making or just hang out in a relaxed but safe environment.

The new Club Med brand recognises the evolution of the Australian consumer and makes a significant departure from the grass huts and beaded necklaces so popular in the 1980s. "Club Med targets families and couples who want an upscale holiday as well as a friendly environment where they can relax and enjoy interacting with the hotel staff and other guests," said Mr Giscard d'Estaing.

Club Med's new level of refinement combined with its enduring friendly spirit make it, now more then ever, a place where sophistication meets fun.

For full booking details please call Club Med on (aus only) 1800 258 263 or for more information visit www.clubmed.com.au


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