Archive for the ‘tour companies’ Category

Where To Go In 2020: US Tour Operators Reveal Top Travel Trends For 2020

January 2, 2020

Eric2018-Ven-Tri-Ist Bike_083118_1480e2(c) Karen Rubin-Porec.jpg

Arriving in Porec, Croatia, the end-point of Biketours.com’s 8-day self-guided bike tour that started in Venice, Italy. US tour operators see Croatia as a top emerging destination; Italy as the most popular destination for 2020 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) released results of its annual travel trend and forecast survey of the association’s active tour operator members naming Italy the most popular destination for travelers in 2020.

The top five “hot” destinations for next year also included France, which ranked second; followed by Spain, Greece and the United Kingdom (tied for third); Ireland and Japan (tied for fourth), Germany tying South Africa for fifth.

“Europe has a very strong presence, which we saw in last year’s survey reinforcing continued interest and growth in European travel among US consumers, driven by both more product and more demand,” cited Terry Dale, President and CEO of USTOA.

USTOA tour operator members also identified their top five off-the-beaten path or emerging destinations that they see gaining popularity in 2020: Egypt, Croatia and Colombia tied for first. “Egypt topping the list is the epitome of a destination comeback story,” added Dale. “It reinforces a strong return in popularity and demand among travelers, after several challenging years.”  Making the list for the first time, Slovenia was named second, followed by Thailand, Vietnam, and Morocco and Ethiopia (tied for fifth).

On the domestic front, USTOA members forecast California as the most popular U.S. destination for clients in 2020. New York came in second, with Florida and Nevada tied for third, followed by Arizona, and Alaska and Hawaii (tied for fifth).

Arts and culture was cited by survey participants as the top travel category driving sales in 2019, wildlife and nature followed in a close second.  Local immersion, small groups/small ships and uncharted destinations were named by Active Members as the top three travel trends projected to grow the most over the next five years.

Members were also asked to name the destinations/sites that travelers should see now, with some sense of urgency before overcrowding, climate change or other factors impact the experience.

Antarctica was named first, followed by Machu Picchu in Peru, and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Venice, Italy (tied for third).

Who is Traveling?

Just shy of two thirds (60%) of members’ customer base are 51 years of age and older. The next largest age group is 35 to 50 years old, representing 20% of customers. Almost half (44%) of members named multigenerational family as their top growing passenger category in 2019.

Growth Ahead

Roughly 82% of USTOA tour operator members anticipate growth in sales for the year ending in 2020 with nearly half (45%) “optimistic” and forecasting a “boom year” with growth anywhere from seven to 10% or higher.

“Member confidence levels for the year ahead are high with roughly three quarters of our tour operator members ‘confident’ or ‘highly confident’ that revenues will increase in the coming year,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO for USTOA.  “This is particularly encouraging especially as we approach a election year, when, historically, consumer spending is more conservative.”

“In fact, when asked about potential threats to traveler confidence in the year ahead, the presidential election year topped the list,” Dale continued. Recession was named the second global risk that could impact potential growth in 2020, followed by global financial instability in third.

Research from the new member survey was revealed at USTOA’s Annual Conference & Marketplace, December 2 to December 6 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate in Orlando, FL.

For more information on USTOA, visit www.ustoa.com, call 212-599-6599, or email information@ustoa.com.

Representing nearly $19 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 9.8 million travelers annually unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.  As a voice for the tour operator industry for more than 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.

 

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Insight Vacations Celebrates 100 Years of The Travel Corporation with Anniversary Sale

December 25, 2019
Lisbon_3203e2 (c) Dave E. Leiberman-Pateis Belem

Taste the sensational pastries of Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon on Insight Vacations’ “Amazing Spain and Portugal” tour © Dave E. Leiberman /goingplacesfarandnear.com.

New York, N.Y.– To celebrate The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) 100 years of being driven by service, Insight Vacations is offering travelers a special anniversary savings.

As a proud member of TTC, Insight Vacations is excited to welcome you into the TTC family and showcase why it is the leader in travel across the world—by catering to every taste, place and pace. Through our dedication to service and making travel personal, we cannot wait to welcome you on a magical journey.

“For 100 years, travel advisors have booked the companies of The Travel Corporation with supreme confidence, and Insight Vacations is no exception. The tradition of excellence in hospitality established long ago by the Tollman family influences everything we do,” says Jon Grutzner, president of Insight Vacations. “To honor that and celebrate with our loyal customers, we have created 100th Anniversary Celebration savings to give our guests the opportunity to experience our new itineraries and immersive experiences at the best value for 2020.”

On all Insight journeys, you’ll travel in relaxed style that experience the heart and soul of the destination–with small groups, premium hotels in the best locations, authentic dining and experiences with locals.

For TTC’s 100th anniversary, you can save up to 20% on European Discovery, Spain, Portugal and Morocco trips for bookings between January 1, 2020- January 7, 2020 for the travel periods April 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020.

You can also take advantage of even more savings in 2020 with Insights’ extended air offer and early payment discountFrom now until Feb. 27, you can save up to $300 per couple on economy air on departures to Europe, Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt and Morocco for travel during Oct. 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020, and September 1, 2020 to November 15, 2020.

By choosing flights with American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair and Iberia, you can save $150 off per person on Economy, $200 off per person on Premium Economy or $300 off per person on Business Class.

Also, if you book and pay in full by Feb. 27, you can receive a savings of 7.5% on trips to Europe and Britain, and the USA and Canada. This special offer is not combinable with the anniversary sale.

So, live your stylish life on a remarkable journey, venturing to some of the most iconic and remarkable destinations in Europe and beyond:

European Dream (11 Days); Leisurely paced with two-night stays in each destination and plenty of time to explore, this journey allows you to live your European Dream and come face-to-face with history through memorable local interactions. Enjoy VIP fast-track entry into the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, as well as exclusive access to the Bramante Staircase that is usually not open to the public. Meet a gondolier in Venice and learn how the tradition of gondola navigation is being passed on to future generations. In Orvieto, marvel at the skills of an Italian chef during a cooking demonstration where you’ll learn how to make homemade pasta. In Stanserhorn, join a Swiss ranger to learn about local fauna and flora in the areaWhile in Paris, join a local foodie to venture where Parisians go about their daily lives, explore small shops and sample local treats and delicacies.

Amazing Spain and Portugal (9 Days): Delve into the heart and soul of each destination on this 9-day journey through the Iberian Peninsula. Tour the celebrated Alhambra Palace with a Local Expert, taste authentic Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon, and see the ancient Roman arches across the river Tormes in Salamanca. Embark on a scenic drive to Seville to explore the maze of narrow lanes and shady squares of the Santa Cruz Quarter, and see the final resting place of Christopher Columbus, along with his tomb, at the grand 15th century Seville Cathedral. In the historic city of Toledo, visit the workshop of a master craftsman and see how Damascene swords are made. In Jabugo, taste the famous jamon Iberico (Iberian ham) and learn about its history and production.

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USTOA Tour Operators Offer Potpourri of Last-Minute Trips for the 2019 Holiday Season

November 1, 2019

 

Austria-Xmas Mkt e2

Christmas Markets in Austria by Insight Vacations

Whether travelers are looking to visit Christmas markets in Europe to celebrate the season or take a beach vacation to Costa Rica to escape the holidays, the tour operators of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) offer a wide variety of itineraries for end-of-the-year getaways, no matter the reason.

Trips for the 2019 holiday season still have availability, including a romantic New Year’s Eve spent under the Eiffel Tower, a cycling escape through Southeast Asia, and a Rhine River cruise through snow-capped mountains and castles.

Here are examples of just some of the holiday trips offered, more can be found at https://ustoa.tripwing.com

  • Christmas Markets of Germany, Switzerland & Austria – EF Go Ahead Tours celebrates the holiday season in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria by visiting the swiss mountains and Bavarian forest, drinking German beer and Austrian wine, and visiting the Christmas markets of Munich over 12 days. Departures are available on select dates in November and December 2020 and 2021. 
  • Holiday Markets Cruise: The Festive Rhine River – AHI International’s seven-day Rhine River cruise takes place on a first-class river ship surrounded by snow-dusted hills and clifftop castles, stopping at the Old World holiday markets in France, Germany, and Switzerland. Departures are available November 27 – December 5, 2019 starting at $2,295. 
  • New Year’s in Paris – Go-Today takes travelers to Paris to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the Eiffel Tower as the backdrop.  The six-day trip is filled with the city’s famed jazz clubs, champagne, and walks along the Seine. Departure is available December 25, 2019 starting at $949 per person.  
  • Christmas on the Elbe – CroisiEurope Cruises leads travelers to the oldest Christmas markets in Germany for seven days to listen to the symphony, join Midnight Mass in Dresden, and have Christmas dinner. Departures is available December 20, 2019 starting at $2,360 per person. 
  • Christmas Markets of Austria & Bavaria – Insight Vacations offers an eight-day journey through the Bavarian Alps to listen to music in Salzburg, take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Innsbruck, and view local handicrafts and festive treats in the Christmas Markets. Departures are available November 24 – December 10, 2019 starting at $1,850 per person. 

To escape, here are a couple of outgoing adventures for families, friends, and solo travelers looking for a great getaway from the festivities:  

  • Borneo: Hike, Bike, & Kayak – Intrepid Travel showcases rainforests, mountains, and beaches on a nine-day adventure through Borneo Island in Southeast Asia. Built for active travelers, the itinerary is filled with hiking, biking, and kayaking. Departures are available November 18 and December 30 starting at $1,798 per person.   
  • Highlights of Botswana – Goway Travel offers an eight-day safari through Botswana for travelers looking to escape in the new year, with accommodations in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Chobe National Park The trip includes Daily departures are available beginning January 5, 2020 starting at $4,385 per person. 
  • Costa Rica: Jungles & Rainforests – Tauck presents an eight-day journey for families looking to adventure together during the holidays, with zip lining, jungle river-rafting, wildlife walks, a pineapple farm tour, and a chocolate-making demonstration. Departures are available December 18 and 24, 2019 starting at $3,868 per person. 
  • Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort – GoGo Vacations offers a golf adventure package at the Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort, located just north of Cancun and surrounded by sandy beaches, with 65,000 square feet of swimming pools for families and a world-famous golf course and spa. Departures available through December 31, 2019 starting at $849 per person.

 For more information on USTOA, visit www.ustoa.com, call 212-599-6599, or email information@ustoa.com.

Representing nearly $19 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 9.8 million travelers annually unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.  As a voice for the tour operator industry for more than 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.

 

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Insight Vacations Offers Discount on Air Fare on European Fall Itineraries Booked by Aug 29

June 29, 2019

Visit scenic Seville on Insight Vacations’ “Amazing Spain and Portugal” itinerary © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Insight Vacations shows travelers the wonders of Europe in relaxed style that puts them into the heart and soul of a destination, premium hotels in the best locations, iconic sites and experiences. And for bookings through August 29 on travel from from Sept. 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020, the tour operator is offering a discount on the air fare on a selection of itineraries:

Best of Ireland and Scotland: Trace back to Gaelic roots, gaze at marvelous landscapes and cherish warm-hearted communities on this 14-day journey across Ireland and Scotland. In Dublin, enjoy VIP priority entrance to the legendary Book of Kells and a guided walk though Trinity College with a university insider. Meet one of Northern Ireland’s best storytellers, Ronan, as he walks with you inside the 17th-century, gothic city walls of Londonderry. In Ardgowan, learn the wonderous and exciting history of the Shaw Stewart family on a tour with Sir Ludovic Shaw-Stewart, who will personally show you his 10,000-acre coastal estate. Along the way, you’ll get the chance to walk inside the historic walls of the Edinburgh Castle to see the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny and Mons Meg and also venture into a world of towering cliffs, lush lakelands and villages in the magical Ring of Kerry.

Italian Escapade: Revel in city riches and observe the beauty of Italian landscapes on this 13-day adventure filled with history, food and art. View the mighty Colosseum and stunning architecture of Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches throughout the ancient city of Rome. In the charming hill town of Assisi, marvel at beautiful stone-built structures that overlook the grand Mount Subasiom and visit the actual birthplace of St. Francis at the Basilica of St. Francis, that’s filled with colorful medieval paintings, gold plated ceilings and mosaic-tile floors. Take time to relax on a cruise through the famous sun-kissed Isle of Capri, surrounded by beautiful blue Mediterranean waters. In the glistening city of Florence, enjoy a mouth-watering, traditional Bistecca alla Fiorentina steak dinner and sip on decadent wine at a historic winery in Lake Iseo.

Amazing Spain and Portugal: Delve into the heart and soul of each destination on this 9-day journey through the Iberian Peninsula. Tour the celebrated Alhambra Palace with a Local Expert, taste authentic Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon, and see the ancient Roman arches across the river Tormes in Salamanca. Embark on a scenic drive to Seville to explore the maze of narrow lanes and shady squares of the Santa Cruz Quarter, and see the final resting place of Christopher Columbus, along with his tomb, at the grand 15th century Seville Cathedral. In the historic city of Toledo, visit the workshop of a master craftsman and see how Damascene swords are made. In Jabugo, taste the famous jamon Iberico (Iberian ham) and learn about its history and production.

From now until August 29, travelers can take advantage of an air offer of $150 off per person on economy, $200 off per person on premium economy and $250 off per person on business class with British Airways, American Airlines, Finnair or Iberia Airlines. This exclusive offer is valid for travel from Sept. 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 and can save travelers up to $500 per couple. Offer is valid on our Europe, Morocco, Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean Itineraries.

To find out more, visit insightvacations.com.

 

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Where to Go in 2019: USTOA Reveals Top Destinations, Travel Trends

February 7, 2019
Venice_082518_576e2(c) Karen Rubin

Venice, Italy. USTOA named Italy as the top destination for 2019, but also raised concern about the impact of overtourism in the most popular places, like Venice. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Tour operator members of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) named Italy the most popular or “hot” destination for travelers in 2019, in a recent survey conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

The top 10 “hot” destinations for the coming year also included Iceland, which ranked second, followed by Japan, Vietnam, Australia, France, Spain, Colombia, Cambodia and Portugal.

USTOA tour operator members also identified their top 10 off-the-beaten path or emerging destinations that they see gaining popularity in 2019: Iceland ranked first, Cambodia ranked second, followed by Croatia, Colombia, Vietnam, Portugal, Bhutan, Bolivia, Myanmar, and Ethiopia.

“It’s interesting see five destinations – Iceland, Cambodia, Colombia, Vietnam and Portugal – appear on both the hot destinations and emerging destinations lists,” added Terry Dale, President and CEO of USTOA. “This tells us that off-the-beaten path travel experiences continue to grow in popularity among travelers.”

Demand for immersive, culturally rich travel programs continue to remain high. Roughly 82% of members offer art and culture travel experiences. The art and culture category was also the highest ranked experiential program for travelers in 2017, based on volume of sales. Two thirds of membership offer honeymoon and romance programs, 63% of members offer adventure programs, and more than half (56%) offer multi-generational family programs.

Economic Impact and Growth Ahead

According to the study, the tour operator members of USTOA project to close out 2018 with sales reaching $18.7 billion dollars, representing 9.8 million individual travelers.

Furthermore, member operators are extremely confident about business in the year ahead: 100% of responding tour operator members anticipate growth in sales in 2019.

“Since the first PwC study was commissioned in 2012, it’s the first time we’ve seen such a bullish response with our entire membership projecting growth ahead,” said Dale. “It’s even more encouraging that more than half of members (56%) forecast growth of sales ranging from seven to 10% or more in 2019, indicating a potential boom year.”

While the Active Members of USTOA view the upcoming year with optimism, they also addressed the global risks that could impact the industry over the next three years. Terrorism topped the list with 17% of members responding they are “extremely concerned.”  However, this level of concern is a considerable drop compared to the 2016 PwC study when more than half of member (59%) were “extremely concerned.”

Political instability and overtourism, a new category this year, were the next two global risks that members were “extremely concerned” about, as named by 13% of survey respondents.

In addition, tour operator members projected that roughly 63% of total packages sold in 2018 were through travel agencies, “Reinforcing the critical role of travel advisors in the continued success of members’ businesses,” Dale cited.

When asked whose traveling, tour operator members responded that about half (48%) of their customer base are 51 to 70 years of age. The next largest category was age 36 to 50 years representing 20% of customers. Gender is split evenly with 51% female and 49% male.  Within the escorted/guided and custom tour category, female passengers were represented slightly higher at 59%.

The research was released at USTOA’s 40th Annual Conference & Marketplace, held at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge in Phoenix AZ, November 26-30, 2018.

U.S. Tour Operators Association members, representing nearly $19 billion in revenue, provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 9.8 million travelers annually access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.  As a voice for the tour operator industry for more than 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.

For more information on USTOA, visit www.ustoa.com, call 212-599-6599, or email information@ustoa.com.

 

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Iceland, Colombia, Vietnam Top List of Emerging Destinations for 2018, US Tour Operators Say

February 12, 2018
I

Iceland was named top emerging or “off-the-beaten-path” destination for 2018 by US tour operators © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK – In a survey of US tour operators, Iceland was named top emerging or “off-the-beaten-path” destination for 2018, moving to the top spot from second in last year’s member survey.  Colombia followed in second, with Vietnam named as third.

When asked for the five most popular or “hot” international destinations for travelers in 2018, members of the US Tour Operators Association (USTOA) named Australia, Spain, Iceland and Italy (tied for third), France, and Japan.  On the domestic front, USTOA members forecast California, Florida and Hawaii (tied for second), New York, Alaska and Nevada (tied for fourth) and Washington DC as the most popular U.S. destinations for clients in 2018.

Members were also asked to name the destinations/sites most “at risk” from disappearing (from over-tourism, climate change or other factors) that travelers should see now. The top three chosen were Antarctica, Cuba and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Arts and culture, adventure, family, and culinary were cited as the most popular travel categories for passengers by survey participants.

In the annual survey of travel forecasts and trends, the tour operators report a strikingly positive outlook for the industry in the year ahead.  Nearly all (95%) USTOA tour operator members anticipate growth in sales for the year ending in 2018. Two thirds (64%) of members are “optimistic” and forecasting a “boom year” with growth anywhere from seven to 10% or higher.

After strong sales increases in 2017, “Member confidence levels for continued growth in 2018 are high,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO for USTOA.  “The reported growth and positive projections the year ahead are particularly encouraging. It speaks soundly to the remarkable resilience of both our industry as well as today’s traveler, who continues to explore, despite the challenges of an ever-changing world.”

While USTOA tour operator members view the forthcoming year with strong optimism, they also addressed the global risks that could impact potential growth in 2018. Terrorism is cited as the biggest threat to consumer confidence, followed by political instability, and global financial instability named third.

In addition, when asked which global events could have the greatest impact for the travel industry in 2018, more than one third (38%) named the sharing economy; a little more than a quarter (28%) cited the Chinese market.

Representing nearly $15 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 8.6 million travelers annually unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe.   Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business. As a voice for the tour operator industry for more than 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents. For more information on USTOA, visit www.ustoa.com.

 

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Apple Vacations Launches Third Cuba Tour to Accommodate Traveler Demand

December 3, 2015

NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA – With Apple Vacations’ tours to Cuba completely sold out for 2015, and 2016 departures selling quickly, the tour operator has created an exclusive eight-night Seascape Discovery tour. This new tour features one pre-night in Miami, four nights in Havana at the IBEROSTAR Parque Central, three nights in Varadero at the IBEROSTAR Varadero, comprehensive sightseeing tours, interactions with local artists, salsa lessons, a boat ride through an underground river, pottery demonstrations, rum and cigar tastings, and authentic Cuban cuisine.

“Following the extremely successful Cuba tour program we launched in July, we have added a third tour for 2016,” said Tim Mullen, President of Apple Vacations. “Cuba is a hot selling destination and we are meeting the demand of travelers looking to immerse themselves in Cuban culture, and engage with the Cuban people,” he added.

The eight-night Seascape Discovery is priced from $5,550 per person, based on double occupancy, with the following departure dates: Feb. 13, March 26, April 30, May 28, June 25, July 30, Aug. 27, Sept. 24 and Oct. 29, 2016.

Prices include Cuban health insurance, charter flights departing from Miami (connecting flights from other US cities available), Cuban tourist visa processing, and U.S. taxes and fees. A Cuban departure tax of $25 per passenger will be collected upon check-in at Miami International Airport.

The leading vacation wholesaler is working with US-based Cuba Travel Services, a Cuba-licensed operator that charters flights from Miami to Cuba with XTRA Airways and American Airlines. Connections to Miami can be arranged from all major U.S. gateways.

Travel to Cuba must be booked 64 days in advance of departure to allow ample time for the processing of required documentation.

Travelers will receive an orientation in Miami to ensure familiarity with Cuban laws, policies and traditions prior to arrival in Cuba.

For more than 45 years, Apple Vacations has provided affordable, top quality vacation packages from U.S. departure cities nationwide to vacation destinations throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Hawaii and Europe, as well top North and South American ski resorts. Apple Vacations has been consistently voted “Best Tour Operator to Mexico and Latin America” by readers of the leading travel trade magazines.

Cuba Travel Services Inc., with offices in California and Florida, arranges daily, non-stop, direct public charter flights between the United States and Cuba. Cuba Travel Services, Inc. is licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as both an authorized Carrier Service Provider (CSP) and Travel Service Provider (TSP) in travel related services to Cuba. As a full service charter and tour operator, Cuba Travel Services provides professional services to individuals, groups, families, educators, students, professionals and organizations, under Specific or General Licenses issued by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Visit www.applevacations.com/cubatours/ for more information.

 

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Pacific Delight Launches First South America Tours Starting with Peru

March 6, 2015
Eric Oborski, president of Pacific Delight Tours, was first brought on as an executive consultant in 2013 to lead the luxury operator's expansion efforts. He hinted that further expansion into South America is in the pipeline with more itineraries to appear throughout 2015.

Eric Oborski, president of Pacific Delight Tours, was first brought on as an executive consultant in 2013 to lead the luxury operator’s expansion efforts. He hinted that further expansion into South America is in the pipeline with more itineraries to appear throughout 2015.

NEW YORK, NY – Pacific Delight Tours is expanding into South America, beginning with the launch of a seven day itinerary to Peru where travelers will have the opportunity to view some of the most famed sights in the Western Hemisphere, including Machu Picchu.  Tours to Peru start at $2,559 per person, based on double occupancy.

“Peru is a fabulous landscape where exotic culture and ancient ruins combine with well-preserved colonial architecture to create a multi-faceted window into the past, present and future with ultra-modern cities like Lima, ancient Incan cities like Cusco and the incredibly mysterious Machu Picchu, all within one vast landscape,” said Eric Oborski, president of Pacific Delight Tours, who was first brought on as an executive consultant in 2013 to lead the luxury operator’s expansion efforts.

“We are very excited to have Peru as our first South America destination, as I’ve been involved in promoting tourism to and from South America since 1972 and am extremely familiar with Peru, having lived there,” noted Oborski, hinting that further expansion into South America is in the pipeline with more itineraries to appear throughout 2015.

Pacific Delight’s 7-Day Peru Program takes travelers to Lima, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Cusco along with a full-day tour of different Incan communities and antique salt mines.

Machu Picchu, known as the “Lost City of the Incas” is not only one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, but also the biggest cultural treasure of Peru’s past and the empire of the Incas.  Undiscovered by Spaniards and forgotten for centuries, it was not until 1911 that the American scientist Hiram Bingham came upon this phenomenon accidentally.  The ruins still leave scientists with numerous questions and riddles as to how it was built and for what purpose.  Travelers will reach Machu Picchu by shuttle bus and enjoy lunch at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge.

Travelers will get to visit Cusco, home to many important Inca sites, where explorers will not only find Incan walls and temples, but also colonial mansions and Catholic churches.  In addition to Cusco, other stops include the Salt Mines of Mara, an excursion to the small Andean community Moray, known for its embedded amphitheater, and a trip to Chinchero where travelers will explore the town’s Sunday market, originally dedicated to the people of the valley to barter their products with a variety of handicrafts and textiles made in true pre-Columbian style.  Explorers will also get to visit Awankancha where they will learn about the traditional weaving techniques typical for the area.

Peru also offers travelers the unique opportunity to experience nearly 98% of the world’s climates, from Rainforests in the North, to coastal cities like Lima in the West and sprawling mountain ranges in the East.  This varied climate, along with a merging of cultures, has given Peruvians the ability to create some of the most unique culinary experiences including Chifa, a fusion of Peruvian and Chinese food, and Ceviche, Peru’s take on sushi.

Pacific Delight Tours is offering the 7-Day Peru Program in Silver and Gold packages.  The Silver package starts at $2,559 with a $600 single supplement and provides travelers with first-class accommodations.  The Gold program starts at $2,999 with a $926 single supplement and features Pacific Delight’s signature FiveStarPlus® luxury accommodations.  All rates quoted are per person, based on double occupancy and do not include international airfare or initial arrival and departure transfers, which are only included when airfare is purchased from Pacific Delight Tours.

Meals are included as per the itineraries along with English-speaking guides and the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program. International airfare is not included, but can be purchased from Pacific Delight Tours at competitive rates from all major U.S. gateways.

Pacific Delight Tours’ expansion into South America will include itineraries in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru in 2015, with more destinations to be announced.

For more information or to book, consult your local travel agent or contact Pacific Delight Tours at 800-221-7179.  Browse Pacific Delight’s China and Asia offerings at www.PacificDelightTours.com.

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Austin Adventures Amends Cancellation Policy to Alleviate Ebola Fears

October 29, 2014

It’s a highly unlikely event, but should health officials report a confirmed case of Ebola within 500 miles of an Austin Adventures vacation host city, the company is announcing that it will waive its trip cancellation fee.

“While we realize that the odds of Ebola affecting our itineraries are minuscule at best, we hope to assuage any fears that a guest may have by updating our cancellation policy to address this sensitive subject,” said Dan Austin, President and Founder of Austin Adventures (http://www.austinadventures.com/).

The adventure travel company, which offers trips to all seven continents, is applying the revised policy to all of its trips—not just those to Africa where many of its partners are also adjusting their cancellation policies.

As with most tour operators, Austin Adventures’ cancellation fee ranges in amount from 15 percent to 100 percent of the price of the trip depending on when the trip is cancelled. In order to avoid the cancellation fee, guests would have to cancel at least seven days prior to their scheduled departure.

The company’s host cities in Africa include Arusha, Brazzaville, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Livingstone, Maun, Nairobi and Windhoek. Brazzaville, the capital city of the Republic of the Congo, is nearest to the African countries that have reported confirmed Ebola cases, but even then it’s more than 3,000 miles away. This is roughly the distance between Maine and California.

On the improbable occasion that a case of Ebola is confirmed within the parameters, booked guests could either cancel their trip completely, at least seven days prior to their scheduled departure, without having to pay a cancellation fee, or they could postpone their trip and travel at a later date for the same price. In addition, Austin Adventures offers all of its guests travel insurance and encourages travelers to obtain coverage to cover any flight cancellation fees or penalties.

Austin Adventures’ legacy in the adventure travel industry goes back more than 40 years, and the company has been selling safaris in Africa for more than a decade. It currently offers 10 different adult and family vacation packages and a river cruise in African countries including Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and the Republic of Congo. The company’s adventure travel consultants can also arrange custom travel itineraries to the continent.

Austin Adventures’ new 2015 catalogs are now available. To receive a copy, visit http://www.austinadventures.com/request-catalog/ or call 1.800.575.1540.

 

 

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O.A.R.S. Adventure Travel Company Operates Rafting, Hiking, Multi-Sport Trips into October

August 12, 2014
Whitewater rafting in Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. O.A.R.S. adventure travel company is operating rafting trips into October.

Whitewater rafting in Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. O.A.R.S. adventure travel company is operating rafting trips into October.

Veteran river outfitter and nature-based adventure travel company O.A.R.S. (www.oars.com/) is operating rafting, hiking and multi-sport vacations into October that promise cooler temperatures along with great fishing, uncrowded wilderness and brilliant night skies.

“It’s our favorite season for hiking and exploring in the national parks,” adds Steve Markle, O.A.R.S.’ spokesperson. “And then there’s the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, which not only has spectacular alpine scenery, but also world-class trout fishing – especially in September when high water has receded, the river is crystal clear, and angling conditions are prime.”

Markle suggests some of the company’s most popular fall adventures for anyone looking for domestic travel from September through October:

Through mid-September O.A.R.S.’ six-day Yellowstone & Grand Teton Explorer takes guests off the beaten track at a time when seasonal visits to the two parks are slowing down. This multi-sport program in wild Wyoming includes two nights of lodging and three nights of catered camping on Jackson Lake with days spent touring Yellowstone and kayaking and hiking in Grand Teton. Through special access granted by the National Park Service, O.A.R.S. has been given permission to camp on an island in the lake, a privilege unique to this company. This trip transports guests into a world of mountain peaks and meadows, trout streams, waterfalls, bear, moose and bison. The rate is $1,589/person based on double occupancy for six days (five-day camping trips also available from $1399/person).

The company’s four-day, lodge-based Grand Canyon Rim to River Hiker in September and October brings guests into one of the deepest parts of the Grand Canyon with an overnight stay at historic Phantom Ranch. The adventure begins in Walnut Canyon, en route to the South Rim, with a close-up view of 25 unique cliff dwellings. Hiking in Wupatki National Monument, features multi-story ruins of red sandstone blocks and mortar.  After gazing into the canyon’s depths from the Desert View Watchtower, a night at the South Rim is the perfect spot to rest before an invigorating hike into the canyon the following day. The South Kaibab Trail, a seven-mile hike into the canyon, reveals panoramic vistas that overwhelm the senses as guests take in the canyon’s grandeur.  The Bright Angel Trail offers a nine-mile hike out of the canyon, followed by a short stroll along the Rim Trail to Hermit’s Rest before returning to Flagstaff on the final day of this hiking adventure. The rate is $1,599/person based on double occupancy.

In September, six-day fishing trips on Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River combine crystal clear water, abundant wildlife, amazing scenery, hot springs and Blue Ribbon trout fishing. This Idaho adventure brings guests into the largest federally protected wilderness in the continental U.S., a rugged and varied terrain of pine-clad mountains, rolling grasslands and narrow gorges. The catch-and-release policy along with limited access to the river and little angling pressure has resulted in a river loaded with fish. Twelve- to fourteen-inchers are common, with an occasional trophy sixteen- to eighteen-inch lunker. From $2082/person.

The Colorado River through Cataract Canyon serves up ideal conditions for hiking to scenic viewpoints and pre-Puebloan sites, stand up paddleboarding in the flat water and Class III whitewater through the heart of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. By September the scorching heat of the summer has faded, and with the sun a little lower in the sky, the shade created by canyon walls produces mesmerizing oblique lighting and wonderful opportunities for photography. Guests can marvel at million-year-old rock formations as well as ancient pictographs & petroglyphs while hiking side canyon trails. Four- and six-day trips through October start at $1529/person.

On a special September 14 “Stars with Lars” astronomy trip, veteran O.A.R.S.’ guide Lars Haarr will help interpret the night sky that offers some of the best conditions for stargazing due to the remote location and absence of city lights.

The per person, double occupancy rates for autumn 2014 programs include nights of lodge accommodations and/or comfortable catered camping, all river equipment, dry bags for gear, meals from departure day through the end of the trip and professional guide services.

For more information, availability, reservations and a copy of the 2014 O.A.R.S. Adventures catalog call 209-736-4677 or 800-346-6277, email info@oars.com, or visit www.oars.com.

 

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