For some, travel is a calculated obsession, satiated by a ticking of boxes that represent a location and the accompanying desire. For others, that’s not enough. Travel requires reaching the ends of the earth and going beyond the realm of normalcy. Luxury travel service Black Tomato appeals to both. First, their exotic offerings don’t forego creature comforts. From guides to top-tier accommodation, a wealth of travelers will find themselves satisfied with their tailor-made experiences. Second, many of their itineraries reach places that others cannot. As co-founder Tom Marchant, a world traveler himself, makes clear: it’s about that island beyond the island or that next city further. This mentality certainly appeals to us and it’s something we believe is resonant with many travelers.
Black Tomato isn’t new. The UK- and NYC-based travel company launched back in 2005 and has conducted hundreds of experiences around the world. But they have plenty of new options worth addressing. This past week, programs were launched for Greenland, the Faroe Islands and The Congo. The first two appeal to the Nordic traveler who’s seen it all. Greenland is the next frontier and the outdoors are the centerpiece of this trip. Regarding the Faroes, Black Tomato’s itinerary also focuses on the breathtaking landscapes, but also incorporates luxury hospitality and a stop at the newly minted Michelin-starred restaurant KOKS. As for The Congo, this isn’t a safari. It’s a forest adventure through the Odzala-Kokua National Park and more. Naturally, it involves both wildlife and substantial trekking. Black Tomato’s capabilities are impressive and the tailor-made programming lets guests pinpoint their desire.
A series of new and forthcoming destination packages will appeal to a different type of adventure traveler: those inspired by two of HBO’s most visually captivating shows. This isn’t a Seinfeld tour of NYC or a National Geographic scouting mission. Black Tomato’s itineraries allow access to the landscapes that inspired or are actually featured in Game of Thrones and Westworld. For the former, one program offers glimpses of Westeros and Essos by way of Croatia and Iceland. Another itinerary will feature Northern Ireland’s Belfast, Ballintoy Harbour, Causeway Coast and more. An Iceland-only experience aims to show life beyond the Wall—privately guided by an official Game of Thrones location scout. The Westworld package tracks through some of America’s vast, iconic parks: from Moab to Monument Valley and the Escalante Canyons to Lake Powell, incorporating California, as well. All itineraries can be as rugged or comfortable as you’d like, with different tiers of activities along the way.
When asked about the motivation behind TV-inspired itineraries, Marchant shares with CH, “Travel is so easily attached to many of our other passion points.” He continues, “Certain shows are set in a place where these dramatic landscape play such a central role. They seep into your consciousness. These remote and wondrous places will always have a key role in people’s imaginations and for all the CGI out there, none of it can ever recreate what mother nature is doing.” In order to tap into that, Marchant and the Black Tomato team began to look into immersive, accurate experiences that reflected the essence of these shows, employed real locations and maintained truth to their company. “We exist to encourage and indulge people’s curiosity. That’s at heart of how we develop new programs,” he says.
As for all the new programs in general, he says, “Inaccessibility invokes a few emotional responses.” This is important to certain types of travel. “It is a genuine sort of getting away, with elements of true disconnection from an average day-to-day,” he begins. “But these are also earned experiences,” he says. “There are options to push yourself physically and mentally, and with that comes a greater sense of satisfaction. When you dig into yourself to push in and get there, there’s something genuinely magical. You’re not stood there thinking, ‘I’m here today but 1000 people were here the day before from a cruise.’ This is a powerful draw for myself and my customers.”
Images courtesy of Black Tomato