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Patagonia

I’ve just returned from visiting Torres del Paine National Park in the south of Chile.  This was my 4th trip to the area and I was able to spend 5 nights there.  In addition to hiking and seeing Puma in the wild, seeing the hiking Refugios owned by Fantastico Sur, I got to spend a lot of time learning about what it takes to take private land and make it a conservancy or a reserva as they call it there. This is a great example of how tourism is saving wild places.

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Why Isn’t Your Travel Marketing Working?

One of the most common complaints I hear from home-based agents is that their marketing isn’t working and they don’t know why!  Most new home-based agents are skeptical at best when I explain to them how changing their marketing approach can actually make clients come to them.

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Using ShoreTrips for Interior Cities

Using ShoreTrips for interior cities is something many travel consultants never think about. Our traveling staff is constantly visiting those special destinations that never see a cruise ship! Here are some of our favorites, along with one or two of our Must-Do excursions. How do we know you MUST try these?  Because we are still talking about them years later!

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ASTA Independent Agents Report

Part of the American Society of Travel Agents’ (ASTA) wide-ranging benchmark reporting program, the upcoming 2017 Independent Agents Report provides a snapshot of the independent agents community within the broader travel agency industry.

The National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA), was established in 1986 as the original association with a mission to represent the interests of the individual travel consultant, and now has expanded to all professional sellers of travel. NACTA host travel agencies and suppliers support this growing distribution channel.

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Saving Wildlife: What’s In It For Humans?

“Saving wild places through travel” is our vision statement at Emerging Destinations. A recent article that we came across channels that philosophy and we wanted to share.

Why should people care about wildlife? BBC poses that critical question in an article by Michael Marshall on the British news service’s global website — What is the Point of Saving Endangered Species?

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ASTA Travel Agency Profile

ASTA has been a reliable source of research on the travel agency industry for many decades. We collect, collate and analyze data that is not available anywhere else on agency operations from agency business models to revenue sources. Our data can be used to pinpoint agency trends, compare and contrast agency operations, and develop marketing tactics. Read the rest of this entry »

Walking Reykjavik: The Viking Trail

With a small and compact city center, meandering coastline and lots of parks, the Icelandic capital is ready-made for walking. Here’s the first of our favorite urban hikes, what we like to call the Viking Trail.

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Appreciation Of The Unexpected

When was the last time you sent an unexpected card at an unexpected time to a client? Do you think it would make a difference? Do you remember your client’s birthdays and other special occasions? Do you think that matters to them? How about a simple thank you or expression of appreciation?

Each year as my birthday approaches I try to take notice of what the companies that I do business with do on this occasion. This year I have received greeting cards from Southwest Airlines, my doctor, Chico’s clothing store, Macy’s, Sephora Cosmetics and others. I look at each of these greetings to try and learn marketing strategies that I can try to incorporate into my own business.

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Travel Less, See More, Add Value

Britain-bound first, second and third time visitors frequently look for itineraries that pack as much as possible into the shortest amount of time.  However, this is not always the case with more savvy anglophile travellers to the UK and here are five important hallmarks that embellish the imaginatively themed and customized UK/Ireland tours I put together for independent customers and groups flying or cruising in and out of Britain.

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How America Travels

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the leading organization representing travel agents in the U.S., today released a groundbreaking study that tracks perceptions of American travelers. This year’s wide-ranging study includes reaction to prominent issues like airline regulation and travel bans, collected to help ASTA better advocate for travelers as well as support travel agents as they advise their clients.

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Safari companies often tout seeing the Big Five – Cape Buffalo, lion, African elephant, leopard, and rhinoceros.  Did you know there is also a “Northern Five” of iconic creatures that are primarily found in the national parks and conservancies north of Nairobi?

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Believe

If you were to walk into my home office the first thing that you might notice is that I have a collection. Oh yes, I have the standard collection of tourist tchotchkes and travel photos, but I also collect a word…BELIEVE. Right now as I glance around my office, I smile at my collection. The most noticeable is a carved wooden sign that sits seven inches high and sprawls across the top of my desk that spells out “BELIEVE”. Over the years good friends started noticing my fondness for this word, so I have been sent various gifts including the word believe, such as an engraved notebook, a rock, a picture frame…okay you get the picture.

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The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is proud to have partnered with The Company Dime to produce “Unmanaged to Managed: Why and How Companies Formalize Travel Programs,” a groundbreaking research project focused on the barriers and opportunities related to converting “unmanaged” business travel to managed travel.

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I spent most of May at an Ayurveda hospital in India, located on the grounds of a former resort and geared more to Westerners than domestic patients. Since medical tourism is a growing field and I’ve had so many friends in the industry ask me about my experience, I thought I should share a few thoughts about my sojourn at CGH Earth Ayurveda’s Kalari Rasayana.

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Iceland’s Eruption

Iceland’s volcanic eruption in 2010 might have caused air travel havoc, but it also started a boom never seen before in Iceland’s tourism. It wasn’t too long ago that Iceland could expect about 350,000 visitors a year – not a bad figure for a country with a population of around 330,000. But in the year following the eruption, tourism began to increase by unprecedented numbers.

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A Pot Pourri of Pleasant Surprises

Virgin Atlantic have recently started non-stop services from San Francisco and Boston to the north of England city of Manchester. With flights already heading across the pond from Atlanta, Chicago, Newark, JFK, Philadelphia and Washington DC it’s worth taking a much closer look at why you should be actively promoting this user-friendly gateway to North Wales, northern England and Scotland.

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Unexpected Ethiopia

After venturing twice to Ethiopia in the last two years with Addis Abbas-based Jacaranda Tours, I’ve come to the conclusion that four weeks there just isn’t enough time to explore one of the world’s largest and most diverse nations. With culture, history and landscapes as the focus rather than just wildlife or beaches, Ethiopia stands far apart from other African destinations. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on this intriguing country.

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The 10% Rule – Put Your Future in the Bank!

Financial counselors always advise taking 10% off the top of your salary and putting it in a savings account for the future. I use this same theory to invest in securing my client’s future business. By providing an unexpected added value, you are showing your appreciation for their business that will develop into a stronger client relationship with all of the loyalties that follow.

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Join ASTA’s 2017 Research Family

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is calling on agency members to participate in the 2017 ASTA Research Family survey program. ASTA members who are chosen and who fulfill the survey requirements will earn a $60 credit toward their 2018 annual dues when they renew.

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Conservancies

During my career, I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the world’s most ardent conservationists, many of them involved in preserving wild places through “conservancies” — an innovative concept that utilizes private or community owned land for the purpose of wildlife conservation.

People often ask me about conservancies (what exactly are they?) and why they should go to one verses a national park or government game reserve. I’m a big fan of conservancies and thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned about them over the years, as well as some of the differences between visiting a conservancy and a national park.

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There is nothing like traveling through the Mediterranean. I have been there countless times, often stopping in the same villages, yet I have never tired of them. There is a romance to the whole area that particularly blankets Italy, France and Spain where I find comfort when I return and see a city as I left it, and yet there is always something new.

Med cruises tanked in 2016

Last year the Mediterranean was hit hard by many factors that affected tourism. We will never really know how people make their decisions but election years are always tough and it was also a restless time for many countries.

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