Posts Tagged ‘USTOA’

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

February 12, 2018
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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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US Tour Operator Association Members ‘Go for the Gold’ with Packages for Olympic Game Enthusiasts

March 16, 2012

Greece (Photo by Sven Olof-Lindblad/Lindblad Expeditions)

As the 2012 Olympic clock counts down in the heart of Trafalgar Square in London, anticipation for this year’s games continues to build, inspiring travelers to join the celebration. In addition to tours to London and Great Britain this summer, US Tour Operators Association (USTOA) members capture the spirit of traveling to an Olympic destination with an exciting array of tour programs that include sites from past Olympic Games held around the world.

“It’s a big year for tourism in London and throughout Great Britain and there are still plenty of opportunities for travelers to visit in 2012,” said Terry Dale, president of USTOA. “Past Olympic sites serve as fascinating destinations as well, especially in an Olympic year, and USTOA members offer sports fans and travelers in general the opportunity to experience the legacy of these historic games all over the globe.”

From Beijing and Whistler to Olympia in Greece, cradle of the Olympic Games beginning in 776 BC, below is a sampling of USTOA member offerings:

Olympic Destination Highlights:

  • “Greek Odyssey,” a nine-day family program from Adventures by Disney, begins with private guided tours to some of the greatest archaeological sites in history: Athens, the sacred Acropolis and Olympic Stadium, Panathinaiko, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896. Reconstructed from the remains of an ancient Greek stadium that dates to 566 BC, Panathinaiko is the only Olympic Stadium made from white marble. The program continues through Santorini to Spinalonga and Karouzanous before departing from Crete. www.adventuresbydisney.com Insight Vacations’ “Glories of Greece” eight-day tour, available April through October, also highlights a visit to Olympia featuring a special tour of the original Olympic Games site including the Gymnasium and Olympic Stadium. www.insightvacations.com
  • “Norway’s Fjords & Arctic Svalbard,” from Lindblad Expeditions, is a 16-day expedition aboard the National Geographic Explorer, with departures on May 27 and August 13. The exploration of the Norwegian coastline includes a stay in Oslo, site of the Olympic Games in 1952, noteworthy for a number of “firsts” including the return of Japan and Germany to the Games following the aftermath of World War II, and the first triple jump in an international skating competition performed by Dick Button of the US. Also of note: the May 27 departure features guest lecturer Keith Bellows, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler, author of the 1998 Winter Olympics ACCESS Guide for ABC-TV and founder of the Media Development group who launched the “1996 Guide to the Atlanta Olympics.” www.expeditions.com
  • Tauck’s “Grand Autumn New England” available September and October, includes a visit to Lake Placid, New York, home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games and the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex where guests will learn about the athletes who medaled there and enjoy a ski jumping demonstration. This 11-day itinerary begins in Boston and travels to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and upstate New York, additional highlights include private Tauck schooner cruise on Boothbay Harbor in Maine and a behind the scenes tour of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory. www.tauck.com
  •  “National Parks of America,” a 12-day program from Collette Vacations offer travelers a two-night stay in Salt Lake City, Utah, host of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Various departures from May to October showcase Yellowstone Park, the Grand Canyon, and the great Sioux Nations Territory before seeing Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument. www.collettevacations.com.
  • SITA World Tours offers a number tour vacations to China that include the home of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. SITA’s “Essence of China with Yangtze River Cruise” is a 12-day tour from Beijing to Shanghai, with a four-day cruise on the famed Yangtze River. Among the ancient attractions included in Beijing are visits to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City – the 250-acre Palace with 9000 rooms which opened to the public in 1949 – and the Summer Palace. Not so ancient sites include the Bird’s Nest, the Beijing National Stadium built for the Olympics and recognized world-wide for its unusual nest-like design. www.sitatours.com
  • The majestic Blackcomb Mountain in the mountain resort of Whistler, British Columbia, was the venue for the bobsled, luge and skeleton competitions during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. With multiple departure dates through September, Globus’ “Spirit of the Rockies” 12-day package through the Canadian Rockies begins in Vancouver and includes the Rocky Mountaineer train over the Continental Divide to breathtaking Banff National Park. From Lake Louise, it’s on to spectacular towering peaks and hanging glaciers of Jasper Park Lodge and then Whistler before returning to Vancouver. www.globusjourneys.com.
  • Travelers can experience “Barcelona at Its Best” with go-today’s six-night vacation package to the home of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, noteworthy for being the last Summer Games to be staged within the same year as the Winter Games. Available March through October, optional sightseeing tours include Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium and Ring. www.go-today.com
  • Goway Travel’s “Sydney Plus” is a five-day program available April 1 – March 31 with two nights in Sydney, home of the 2000 Olympic Games, before traversing the Blue Mountain Range to the Hunter Valley, home of Australia’s major wine producing areas. The visit to Sydney offers an in-depth and active couple of days, including guided walking tours, Sydney Harbour cruise and visits to the Opera House, Watson’s Bay and Taronga Zoo. www.goway.com

The member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow travelers 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.

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

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USTOA Tour Company Members Offer Culinary Adventures in Five Asian Countries

July 2, 2011

USTOA member companies offer culinary adventures to China and other Asian destinations highlighted with cooking classes and feasts © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Tour companies are serving up a menu of Asian food adventures, from cooking classes to culinary feasts. Travelers can dine at the home of a noted chef in India, learn to cook five traditional dishes in Vietnam, or savor authentic Beijing duck in China.

Here are four representative tours from USTOA companies to suit varying tastes and palates.

India

“A Portrait of India”: 18 days/17 nights: Foodies can enjoy a cooking demonstration and dinner at the home of a noted Indian chef on Tauck’s 18 day, 17 night “A Portrait of India”. Visit New Delhi, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Cochin, Kumarakom, and Mumbai. Priced from $7,890 per person, land only, the tour must be booked by December 1, 2011 for travel available until December 21, 2011. According to Tauck, this virtually all-inclusive price reflects a savings of up to 40% over making the same arrangements on your own. For reservations and more information, phone 1-800-468-2825 or visit www.tauck.com.

Southeast Asia

Treasures of Angkor Wat and Vietnam: 16 days/15 nights:Experience a half day Vietnamese cooking class in Hoi An, including a visit to the market and preparation of five traditional dishes, with Explorations’ “Treasures of Angkor Wat and Vietnam” from Collette Vacations. This 16 day/15 night tour to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam offers a small group of twenty-eight passengers. Price begins from $2,999 per person, saving travelers up to 25% over independent booking, according to Collette. Book by March 1, 2012 for travel valid until April 12, 2012. International airfare is additional. For reservations and more information, phone 1-877-451-8687 or visit www.explorationstouring.

Laos and Vietnam: Sacred Jewels of Southeast Asia: 16 days/15 nights: On International Expeditions’ “Laos and Vietnam: Sacred Jewels of Southeast Asia.” travelers sample the famous roast chicken at Anh Tuyet’s restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam, featured on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations.” In Laos, culinary offerings include lunch at Makphet Restaurant in Vientiane. and Italian cuisine at Xe Pian ecolodge. Also offered is an elephant fish lunch in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Activities include sightseeing by cyclo-rickshaw, tuk-tuk, long boat, sampan boat and elephant back. An overnight cruise on Halong Bay in Vietnam aboard a Chinese junk, plus visits to Luang Prabang in Laos and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam are also included, as are excursions to local markets, villages, and sustainability projects, a private baci welcome ceremony, and a sacred tak bat ceremony. Hotel accommodations are for thirteen nights, with three nights in secluded Xe Pian National Protected Area. The tour, which can be booked at any time, is priced from $4,298 per person, land only, and is available until December 1, 2011. For reservations and more information, phone 1-800-633-4734 or visit www.IEtravel.com/explore-laos.

China

China Impressions: 10 days/9 nights: Savor a Beijing duck dinner and local culinary lunches on Pacific Delight Tours’ 10 day, 9 night “China Impressions” tour. Cost starts from $2,199 per person, representing up to a 40% savings over booking independently, according to Pacific Delight Tours. The itinerary visits Beijing, Xi’an, Suzhou, and Shanghai, and includes international airfare from Los Angeles (add $200 for New York), deluxe hotels, meals, sightseeing, and transfers. This tour is available through March 2012. For reservations and more information, phone 1-800-221-7179 or visit www.pacificdelighttours.com.

“Today’s traveler to Asia wants a total experience, including tasting local cuisine and learning about a culture through its food,” says Terry Dale, president of the U.S. Tour Operators Association. “These tours, by introducing travelers to local cuisine, provide an immersion and greater understanding into Asian cultures.”

 

All tour prices are based on double occupancy. Restrictions and additional security fees, departure and local taxes and fees may apply. Prices may vary based on departure date.

For more information on Asia vacations with culinary interest visit: www.USTOA.com, or www.USTOA.travel.

USTOA member companies have met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the association’s Travelers Assistance Program, which among other things protects consumer payments up to $1 million in case the company goes out of business. USTOA is the premier association of companies providing vacation packages, tours, and custom travel itineraries for more than 11 million people yearly.

For more travel features, visit

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin