Tag Archives: US Tour Operators Association

US Tour Operators Bring Travelers to World’s Happiest Places

Soaking in the Blue Lagoon. Iceland scored second to Finland in the United Nations’ annual World Happiness Report for 2021. US Tour Operators Association member  Great Value Vacations offers Iceland Escape: Golden Circle & Whale Watching  package © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Who can’t use a little extra happiness now?

Tour operator members of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) offer itineraries to destinations around the world, including the top five countries from the United Nations’ annual World Happiness Report for 2021.

Each year, happiness is measured by the United Nations through a complex process, integrating metrics such as social support, life expectancy, income per capita, and more. In 2021, the top five countries were Finland in first place, followed by Iceland in second place, then Denmark, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

“Our tour operator members always make travelers smile, by handling all the logistics, ensuring peace of mind through trip protection and guaranteed accommodations, while offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences that travelers might not find on their own,”said Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA. 

What is more, travelers who experience what makes these places score so high in happiness bring these ideas back home.

Here is a sampling of itineraries for clients who want to visit the top five happiness countries with some of the most smile-inducing operators around.

  1. Finland – The Northern Lights of Finland with Collette takes travelers on a hunt for the elusive North Lights in Finland, with a culture and history tour of Helsinki, three nights in rugged Lapland, a reindeer safari, and dog sledding. Accommodations include stays in a glass igloo in the wilderness and a Finnish log cabin.  Departures are available between November 2021 and March 2022 for seven nights, starting at $3,199 per person.
  1. Iceland – Iceland Escape: Golden Circle & Whale Watching with Great Value Vacations is a four-night trip that includes whale watching at sea, a full day tour of the beautiful Golden Circle, and an excursion to the renowned Fontana Baths to bathe in mineral-rich geothermal waters. Departures are available throughout 2021 and 2022 starting at $1,388 per person.
  1. Denmark – Denmark Self-Drive: Copenhagen, Roskilde, Odense & Arhus with Goway Travel is perfect for independent travelers who want to travel at their own pace on an eight-day self-drive tour. The itinerary takes guests through Copenhagen’s museums, the zoo in Odense, and Europe’s Capital of Culture, Arhus. Departures are available throughout 2021 and 2022 starting at $1,307 per person.
  1. Switzerland – The Best of Switzerland with Globus is a vacation out of a storybook, with fresh Alpine air, Swiss chocolates, chalet-dotted hillsides, and lush green farmland. Guests will enjoy an eight-day trip beginning and ending in Zürich with stops at Lake Como, Lake Geneva, and more. Departures are available to book between 2021 – 2023 starting at $2,699 per person.
  1. Netherlands – Grand tour of the Netherlands with Audley Travel explores the Netherlands for ten days with bicycle tours, visits to the famous windmills, a sunset canal cruise through Amsterdam, and a pottery class at Delftware pottery. Departures are available throughout 2021 and 2022 starting at $5,455 per person.

Find all itineraries offered by USTOA tour operators at www.ustoa.travelstride.com

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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Women Travel the World With USTOA Tour Operators

smarTours’ seven-day, women-only tour through Iceland takes travelers through Reykjavik and Vik, with opportunities to see the Northern Lights and Iceland’s famous waterfalls
© Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK –In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) is highlighting women-focused itineraries offered by its tour operator members. Spanning the globe from Iceland to Ireland, Japan to Chile, each program offers small group, immersive experiences that allow guests to pursue a passion or check a box on their bucket list.

“USTOA tour operators have a collection of itineraries created by women, for women, that are packed with hands-on adventures and singular experiences. Each vacation provides much more than a traditional getaway, with opportunities to explore a new destination with like-minded travelers,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA.

The collection of small group, women-only trips in 2020 include:

Incredible Iceland with Northern Lights – smarTours’ seven-day, women-only tour through Iceland takes travelers through Reykjavik and Vik, with opportunities to see the Northern Lights, Seljalandsfoss & Skogafoss Waterfalls, and more. Departure is available on October 29 starting at $2,399 per person.

Authentic Ladies Tee Time – Authentic Vacations offers a nine-day tour of Ireland’s five-star golf courses, designed for a private group of women who are interested in golfing the Emerald Isle’s lush landscape, experiencing fine dining, and relaxing at spas. Private group tours are available starting at $3,248 per person.

Japan Zen – The Art of Simple Living – Perillo’s Learning Journeys’ 11-day women’s journey  explores Japanese culture in Tokyo and Kyoto, where guests will attend meditation sessions, stay in a traditional ryokan inn, and participate in sake tastings and cooking classes.Departure is available on May 31 starting at $5,475 per person.

Chile with Patagonia – SITA World Tours’ six-day, women-only adventure through Chile and Patagonia takes guests to Chile’s wine country in Casablanca and Curacavi and a day in Torres del Paine National Park, with trip extensions available to Easter Island and Buenos Aires. Departure is available on November 12 starting at 3,810 per person.

In addition to better access to attractions, activities and lodgings, a benefit of traveling with a well-established tour operator is the additional layer of safety and security and ability to respond to changing situations at the destination.

Find all the itineraries offered by USTOA tour operators at https://ustoa.stridetravel.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.

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

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USTOA Tour Operators Offer Immersive Off-Season Itineraries to Portugal

Picturesque Porto, Portugal, on the Douro River. With an annual average of 3,000 hours of sunshine, this southern European country has idyllic scenery and outdoor opportunities year-round and USTOA member tour operators offer immersive itineraries. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK –Portugal beckons travelers to its historic, cobblestone villages and pristine beaches in the fall and winter, when temperatures are mild and airfare is offered at value prices. With an annual average of 3,000 hours of sunshine, this southern European country offers idyllic scenery and outdoor opportunities year-round.

When comedian Harrison Greenbaum visits Lisbon, Portugal in the travel video series “Recalculating” he ventures off to the local coastal community of Trafaria to take a cooking lesson with a group of grandmas, meet a sea captain at the beach, and even learn a few new dance moves. Tour operators of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) create immersive, fulfilling experiences for destinations like Portugal throughout the year. 

Here’s a collection of itineraries for travelers looking to book a trip to Portugal in 2020:

Jewels of Portugal – Homeric Tours’ offers a five-day trip through Lisbon with tours of Sintra’s palaces and castles, a day at the Historic Centre of Évora, and visits to Jeronimo’s Monastery, Belem Tower, and more. Departures are available between January and October 2020, starting at $1,165 per person.

Portugal In Depth – Globus’ 11-day trip stops in Lisbon, Porto, Algarve, Tomar, Viseu, and Évora for exposure to the best of Portugal’s inland communities and coastal cities. Highlights include a visit to the Church of São Francisco in Porto, an olive oil tasting in Belmonte, and a stop at the 700-year-old University of Coimbra. Departures are available between April 2020 and October 2020, starting at $1,979 per person.

Treasures of Portugal – smarTours brings guests to a collection of historic landmarks in Portugal with visits to the medieval village of Marvão, the Cathedral of Évora, the Belém Riverside District in Lisbon, and the University of Coimbra. Departures are available between April and October 2020, starting at $2,199 per person including airfare.

Portugal & The Douro River Valley – YMT Vacations offers a seven-night cruise down the Douro River and a five-night land tour stretching from Lisbon to Porto. Guests will enjoy a port wine tasting in the Douro Valley’s wine region, a walk through the streets of Sintra and Óbidos, and a visit to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima. Departure is available October 10, 2020, starting at $3,199 per person.

Into the Heart of Portugal – Scenic Tours USA Inc.’s 11-day luxury river cruise is hosted by a National Geographic expert and photographer. Activities include a festive flamenco performance in Salamanca, Spain, birdwatching in Porto’s wetlands, and practicing landscape photography in the Douro Valley vineyards. Departures are available between September 22 and October 2, 2020, starting at $7,395 per person. 

Other episodes of Recalculating take place in Whistler in British Colombia, New York’s Coney Island, Philadelphia, Mexico City and Slovenia. Watch them all by visiting  https://ustoa.com/recalculating

Find all Portugal itineraries by USTOA tour operators here.

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 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.

For more travel features, visit:

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USTOA Tour Operators Venture to Lesser-Known Corners of the World in 2020

USTOA members bring travelers to less-trafficked places in the world, like cruising in Vietnam © Laini Miranda/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK –Each September, the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) celebrates Travel Together Month to showcase the unparalleled group travel experiences offered by USTOA tour operators. This year, USTOA is spotlighting new itineraries that lead travelers off-the-beaten path in 2020.

Travelers who explore relatively less-traveled destinations often experience fewer crowds, encounter more opportunities to immerse themselves in the local culture, and discover activities that are distinctly different.

“Traveling to the lesser-known corners of the earth supports the growth of emerging destinations while providing a richer and deeper understanding of local cultures and communities,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA. “Our tour operator members have been taking travelers to off-the-beaten-path places for decades and have an exciting array of new programs available in 2020 to explore.”

New USTOA tour operator itineraries for 2020 include:

Lithuania & Latvia: the Baltics – Cyclists can spin along the Baltic coast, take a private cruise to the Curonian Spit, and join a Lithuanian barbecue with VBT Bicycling Vacations. Departures are available between May and September 2020, starting at $3,095 per person.

Discover Ethiopia –Perillo’s Learning Journeys takes guests on a city tour of the capital, Addis Ababa, home to museums and open air markets, and on an exploration of Lalibela, a town in the Amhara region known for its distinctive rock-cut churches. Private group departures are available throughout 2020 starting at $3,890 per person.

Wukalina Walk – Travelers can take a guided, four-day adventure in Tasmania with Goway.com through Launceston while listening to the stories of this northeast region. Departures are available on Sundays through March 2020, starting at $1,609 per person.

Coastal Wonders of Norway, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland – Adventurers can visit Norway’s spectacular fjords, discover the Viking heritage in the Faroe Islands, and observe nesting seabirds on Iceland’s Látrabjarg cliffs with Lindblad Expeditions. Departure is June 18, 2020, starting at $17,160 per person.

Vietnam & Cambodia – Holiday Vacations takes travelers through these two neighboring Southeast Asia destinations with time for traditional cooking classes, museum visits, and boat cruises. Departures are available in March 2020, starting at $8,299 per person.

Bolivia & Chile’s Atacama Desert – International Expeditions takes guests through Bolivia’s dramatic landscape and wildlife, and to the turquoise lakes and red plains of the Atacama Desert in Chile. Departure is available May 9, 2020, starting at $10,698 per person.

UNESCO Banff National Park & The Rocky Mountaineer – Travelers can explore the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park, and Lake Louise by boat, rail, and a glass-domed car with Seabourn Cruises. Departures are available on select dates between June and September 2020, starting at $5,399 per person.

Find all the itineraries offered by USTOA tour operators at https://ustoa.com/dream-vacation

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 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.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures