Most holidayers dream of a tropical beach or cosmopolitan city. But for customers of French travel firm Ultime Réalité, an ideal holiday could involve helicopter chases, kidnappings, and a simulated abduction and kidnapping. The firm is a one-of-a-kind ‘extreme’ holiday provider operating in east France, and it’s rapidly gaining attention throughout the world for its bizarre holiday packages.
One such package from Ultime Réalité’s website combined a harsh, unexpected kidnapping with a four-hour confinement and isolation package in one of France’s historic cellars. Customers have an obligation to purchase the packages during an extended period of holiday or work inactivity, as the company goes out of its way to research, follow, and track its customers before the kidnapping.
It’s part of a service that promises the ultimate thrill. While lawmakers have repeatedly questioned the company’s bizarre business model, adventure tourists appear to be eating it up. For just £1000, customers can experience a day in a simulate hostage situation, complete with armed guards and a set of so-tight-they-hurt handcuffs.
The company is popular amongst high-level executives and important business figures, who have used its services as both a preparatory and preventative measure against kidnappings. The extreme travel company reportedly receives two bookings daily, making it a reasonable cash cow for its 28-year-old founder and chief executive.
However, the unusual service has drawn a reasonable level of attention from local law enforcement agencies. With public kidnappings and other abductions a standard part of service, a number of calls to police have seen the company’s activities interrupted. Employees, however, insist that the service is not illegal, with the customer signing over all liability and consent before the kidnapping begins.
French police agree, adding that the service occupies an interesting area of the law. Given Réalité’s popularity and potential for cash generation, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see such a bizarre and unusual travel service offered internationally.