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VOL. 22, NO. 6 • DECEMBER 2012
ON THE COVER: Inbound tourism holds promise for USA (Flag Illustration by Robert Forrest/Bigstock Photos Plane Photo by Mikael Damkier/Bigstock Photos)
13 Inbound Tourism Offers Promise for U.S. Tour Industry
Illustration (above) by Marilyn Volan/Bigstock Photos
BY VANESSA DAY
International tourists are coming back to America, an encouraging trend for the nation’s economy
Reader’s Choice Awards
Student Travelers Build Global Resumes
Big-time rodeos highlight South Dakota’s events calendar.
10 Easy Ways Toward Sustainable Travel
BY ESPEN FALKENHAUG
The New Youth Marketplace: Gen Y BY LANCE HARRELL
24 25 35 38 40 42 45
Student Travel Planning Guide South Dakota: Where Buffalo Roam
BY RANDY MINK
Nebraska Celebrates the Lincoln Highway Arizona Potpourri
BY SUE ARKO
What’s New in the Smokies Baltimore Buzz
BY MELINDA HUGHEY
BY ASHLEY BRAUN
Virginia Beach Tour Salutes Our Troops BY DAVE BODLE
Georgia’s Historic Heartland
BY DAVE BODLE
Discovering Southern Indiana
BY DANIEL MORRILL
On My Mind
BY JEFF GAYDUK
On Tour BY MARTY SARBEY DE SOUTO
On Marketing BY DAVE BODLE
Mile length of the historic Lincoln Highway
Leisure Group Travel contributor Cindi Brodhecker bunked down in unconventional accommodations while on assignment in Wadi Rum in Jordan.
9 Tribes in South Dakota’s Sioux Nation
CATCH THE WEEKLY GROUP TRAVEL PODCAST ON LEISUREGROUPTRAVEL.COM
Alpacas at Indiana’s Mt. Tabor Alpaca Farm
o time to read the headlines? Catch the latest industry news on our weekly podcast, available on LeisureGroupTravel.com and the iTunes store (free download). We summarize the week’s news from around the world in a short, condensed fashion. Click on the Podcast icon from LeisureGroupTravel.com or search our name on the iTunes store!
620,961 Population of Baltimore
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Miles between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge
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Photo Courtesy of South Dakota Department of Tourism
© 2012 JupiterImages Corporation
Virginia Beach’s rank among largest U.S. cities
1912 Year that Arizona entered the Union
on my mind ❖
On My Mind jeff gayduk
❖ jeff gayduk
Ramping Up for 2013
Vol. 22, No. 6 December 2012 Editorial & Advertising Office 621 Plainfield Road, Suite 406 Willowbrook, IL 60527 P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 firstname.lastname@example.org
Publisher – Jeffrey Gayduk email@example.com
Managing Editor – Randy Mink firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Editor – Dave Bodle
AS WE CLOSE THE DOOR on 2012, the group travel industry seems to have turned the corner on the great recession. Many groups I’ve spoken with are experiencing better results for ’13 trips and those results are mirrored by an uptick
Director, Design & Production – Robert Wyszkowski email@example.com
in hotel occupancy across the nation. Here’s the hard part. In the coming months it’s natural for folks to check out a little mentally. They get into the holiday mode. Projects tend to get delayed indefinitely, people drag their feet or operate in a more distracted fashion.
Regional Business Development Managers Illinois – Jim McCurdy P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 firstname.lastname@example.org
Every year it also seems that people fail to predict this trend and don’t take the correct amount of effort to offset it. Say, for instance, you went to a basketball court and shot hoops everyday on a 9-foot rim. Eventually you’d probably hit every shot. One day you show up and I changed the height to 10 feet. If you maintained the same effort you were taking for the 9-foot shots, you’d miss a lot of them!
Northeast & Eastern Midwest/Canada – Harry Peck P 330.830.4880 • F 630.794.0652 email@example.com
year when the effort required has actually gone significantly up. Make sense?
Mid Atlantic – Ellen Klesta P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 firstname.lastname@example.org
People talk about it being slow around the Christmas holiday, but what’s really
Southeast/West Coast – Cheryl Rash
happening is that the effort required has gone up and they have not increased
P 563.613.3068 • F 815.225.5274 email@example.com
In other words, you can’t take the same amount of effort in times during the
their efforts to match the amount required, and so things seem “slow.” So take a look at how much effort you realistically need to take between now and the end of January to set up your year with strong numbers.
Southern – Dolores Ridout P/F 281.762.9546 firstname.lastname@example.org
Juice up your sales-related activity and you’ll be thankful you did. Dust off shelved projects that were once at the top of your list and tackle them with new vigor. Launch something new next year! SETTING UP 2013 That’s what December’s Industry Forecast is all about. We start by rewarding outstanding performance in the travel supplier community in our 10th annual Reader’s Choice Awards. We help you uncover new trends and opportunities that you can take advantage of, like the international inbound market and student and youth trips. And we help you find new destinations and better ways to conduct business. Enjoy this very special edition of Leisure Group Travel, and may you and your family & friends have a delightful holiday season. Sincerely,
Frontier/Mountain West – Linda Ragusin P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 email@example.com Florida & Caribbean – Evelyn Stetler P 321.235.6002 • F 321.235.6094 firstname.lastname@example.org The publisher accepts unsolicited editorial matter, as well as advertising, but assumes no responsibility for statements made by advertisers or contributors. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information published, but the publisher makes no warranty that listings are free of error. The publisher is not responsible for the return of unsolicited photos, slides or manuscripts.
Leisure Group Travel (ISSN-1531-1406) is published bi-monthly by Premier Tourism Marketing, Inc. 621 Plainfield Road, Suite 406, Willowbrook, IL 60527. The magazine is distributed free of charge to qualified tour operators, travel agents, group leaders, bank travel clubs and other travel organizations. Other travel-related suppliers may subscribe at the reduced rate of $12.00 per year. The regular subscription price for all others is $18.00 per year. Single copies are $4.95 each.
Send Address Change to: Premier Tourism Marketing, Inc. P.O. Box 609, Palos Heights, IL 60463
Jeff Gayduk, Publisher
6 December 2012
All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced in any form without written permission of the publisher.
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❖ marty sarbey de souto, ctc
We Can Always Learn From Tour Leading AS MANY YEARS as I have been
alerted to this in advance when con-
a tour. I was fortunate to have a young
tour leading, I always come home
sidering whether or not to sign up for
man who loved his work, spoke
having learned something new. Often
meticulous English and enjoyed the
we may think we know it all or that
I was reminded that one of the
tour members, endearing himself with
there’s nothing new to learn. Not so.
major reasons folks join my tours is to
special attention, personal stories of his
I just returned from escorting my
enjoy social interaction with other tour
romance and a feeling of “belonging”
annual tour for ladies – each year to
members. I must continue throughout
to our group.
a different international destination.
the tour to see that members mix and
This year it was to the Netherlands
enjoy one another’s company, have
step-on guides we were assigned
and Belgium – often referred to as
companions with whom to shop, dine
and, as usual, some were better than
“The Low Countries” or when you
and share life stories. I’m always
others. Just being a walking encyclo-
add Luxembourg, referred to as the
amazed by some of the stories they
pedia able to spout historic names
Likewise, I was able to assess the
Benelux. I had been there previously but learned a lot that’s new. Here are some of the new (or newly remembered) things.
Make sure that your tour members mix and enjoy one another’s company
First of all, I learned how important it is to include visits in your itinerary that are “non-touristy” – things that
tell me – how one woman had been
and dates does not denote a top guide
other tours are not doing. On this
fighting cancer and almost didn’t get to
in my book. It’s the ability to separate
particular tour I included a pre-set visit
go on the trip, how another had been
the wheat from the chaff, enunciate
and lecture at the headquarters of the
forbidden by her husband to spend
clearly and make your subject come
European Union in Brussels, a farm
“his” money on her first trip abroad
alive that counts.
visit and cooking class in rural Holland,
and how she had finally become brave
and a hands-on chocolate-making
enough to challenge him now that she
tant it is to brush up on our first aid
workshop in Bruges. These turned
was in her 70s.
and company policies regarding illness
I also reminded myself how impor-
out to be the group’s favorite events
I also enjoy learning how different
when I queried them at our farewell
countries, cities, and societies solve
ber take a bad fall and was thankful
dinner. What they liked particularly
social issues. What could we learn from
for access to good medical care
was their active involvement and the
Holland? Certainly the Dutch could
camaraderie of d-o-i-n-g something
devote more attention to facilities for
with the other tour members.
the disabled, to which we’ve become
to be a source of learning and inspira-
I relearned that Europeans are still
or accident on tour. I had a tour mem-
All in all, tour leading can continue
accustomed in the United States. Large
tion for future trips. Don’t give up this
accustomed to walking much more
parking lots are filled with nothing but
opportunity by always delegating this
than Americans and that many of
bikes. On the other hand, what could
position to others. Do it yourself at
the most interesting cobble-stoned
Holland learn from us? Certainly more
least once a year.
medieval towns can only be seen by
attention to facilities for the disabled,
walking, as outside vehicles (even
to which we’ve become accustomed in
our small 19-seat coach) may be pro-
hibited by local rules and regulations. Potential tour members need to be 8 December 2012
Once again I was reminded how a
Marty is a Certified Travel Counselor who designs and leads tours. Her travel industry consulting and educational firm is Sarbey Associates (sarbeyassociates.com).
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RE ADER ’S ★ ★ ★ C H★I C E AWARDS
You voted in the 10th annual Reader’s Choice Awards…and the results are in! Congratulations to our 2012 winners, selected by readers of Leisure Group Travel. Subscribers voted by mailing in their Reader Service Card or going online at leisuregrouptravel.com. ABOUT THIS YEAR’S AWARD WINNERS
n the brand new Best Train Excursion category, VIA
previous years). The Book of Mormon, recipient of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, took Platinum. Long-
Rail Canada outdistanced competitors, earning Plat-
running favorites Jersey Boys and Wicked won Gold and
inum in streaking past Rocky Mountaineer and
Alaska Railroad, which took Gold and Bronze, respec-
In Best International Destination, Italy walked away with
tively. The latter two, of course, are strictly excursion trains
Platinum, replacing 2011 winner London. Ireland and
and showcase the pristine wilderness of western North
Switzerland were right behind.
America. VIA Rail, meanwhile, covers a whole country, but
In voting for Best Tour Operator, Leisure Group Travel
many voters likely had its scenic western routes in mind—
readers for the sixth year in a row gave the Platinum and
nothing beats the Canadian Rockies (and Alaska) for spell-
Gold to Collette Vacations and Globus Family of Brands,
binding vistas. Outstanding service undoubtedly was an-
respectively. Mayflower Tours, recognized for the first time
other factor favoring the three railroads.
in our poll, captured Bronze.
Voting in another new category, Best Museum, followed
Princess Cruises retained its 2011 Platinum ranking
a similar pattern, with Washington D.C.’s multi-location
in the Best Cruise Line contest, while Celebrity Cruises
Smithsonian Institution winning top honors. New York’s
and Royal Caribbean took Gold and Bronze, respec-
Metropolitan Museum of Art and Chicago’s Field Mu-
tively. Curiously, it’s the first time in our voting that Hol-
seum placed second and third.
land America did not place in the top three. In the Best
In the Best Domestic Destination sweepstakes, New
Hotel Brand category, Marriott replaced last year’s Plat-
York City again proved it’s A-No.1, top of the heap in
inum winner, Holiday Inn, which slipped to second.
keeping the title earned in the 2011 and 2009 Reader’s
Westin took Bronze.
Choice Awards. Runner-up was Las Vegas (a repeat of last year), followed by Orlando. New York gets into the act in another new category, Best Broadway Show (which replaces our Theater slot from
10 December 2012
Thanks to all who cast their ballots in the Reader’s Choice Awards. If you disagree with this year’s results, ensure your opinion is voiced in our 2013 Awards—voting starts next August.
BEST TRAIN EXCURSION
BEST INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION
VIA Rail Canada • Platinum Rocky Mountaineer • Gold Alaska Railroad • Bronze
Italy • Platinum Ireland • Gold Switzerland • Bronze
BEST TOUR OPERATOR
Smithsonian • Platinum Metropolitan Museum of Art • Gold Field Museum • Bronze
Collette Vacations • Platinum Globus Family of Brands • Gold Mayflower Tours • Bronze
BEST DOMESTIC DESTINATION
BEST CRUISE LINE
New York • Platinum Las Vegas • Gold Orlando • Bronze
Princess • Platinum Celebrity • Gold Royal Caribbean • Bronze
BEST BROADWAY SHOW
BEST HOTEL BRAND
The Book of Mormon • Platinum Jersey Boys • Gold Wicked • Bronze
Marriott • Platinum Holiday Inn • Gold Westin • Bronze
THE AMERICAN SPIRIT: inspiring by nature . 'ĂƌǀĂŶtŽŽĚůĂŶĚ'ĂƌĚĞŶƐ͕,Žƚ^ƉƌŝŶŐƐ
EĂŵĞĚŽŶĞŽĨƚŚĞƚŽƉĚĞƐƟŶĂƟŽŶƐŝŶƚŚĞǁŽƌůĚďǇ͞dƌĂǀĞůĂŶĚ >ĞŝƐƵƌĞ͕͟ƌǇƐƚĂůƌŝĚŐĞƐDƵƐĞƵŵŽĨŵĞƌŝĐĂŶƌƚŚĂƐďĞĐŽŵĞĂ ŵĂũŽƌŵĂŐŶĞƚĨŽƌŐƌŽƵƉƚŽƵƌƐ͕ƐƵƌƌŽƵŶĚĞĚďǇƐƚƵŶŶŝŶŐƐĐĞŶŝĐ ďĞĂƵƚǇĂŶĚƵŶŝƋƵĞƌĞƐŽƌƚƐŽŶůǇĂƐŚŽƌƚĚƌŝǀĞĂǁĂǇ͘
December 2012 11
Easy Ways Toward Sustainable Travel C
elebrity Cruises has a machine that kills bacteria in pillows and sanitizes and deodorizes the filling, allowing it to significantly reduce pillow waste. That’s just one example
of how the travel industry utilizes sustainable practices to protect the environment, reduce energy costs and improve the guest experience. Here are some other ways that we as an industry and as individual travelers can go green:
the card found in many hotel rooms and let the housekeeper
know you’ll use it again. The same goes for bed sheets.
ability in mind also reduces the waste that will
Linen cards. It’s not hard to
reuse a towel—most of us do it at home. Follow the instructions on
Packing light. Cutting down on the weight and number of suitcases results in less airline fuel consumed and lower
carbon dioxide emissions. Packing with sustainhave to be disposed of at the destination. In most
Lights out. Even easier is turnthe hotel room. To be more en-
ergy-efficient, more and more hotels and cruise ships are turning to LED lights, which last 25 times longer, use 80 percent less energy and generate 50 percent less heat than halogen and incandescent bulbs. Also becoming widespread are CFL (compact fluorescent lamps) lights.
cases you won’t miss what you left at home.
ing out the lights when you leave
Menu choices. Ask restaurants about the origins of the food. Is it locally produced? Choose sustainable seafood
and refuse to eat endangered species. Support local businesses. Respon-
sible travel practices also focus on socio-cultural sustainability. They in-
Recycling. Many hotels and ships
clude working with tour operators and lodges
have recycling baskets in guest
that employ local people and patronizing
rooms and public areas. This en-
shops that sell locally made goods. In soci-
courages the separation of waste into
eties where women suffer from exploitation, travelers can
glass/cans, plastic/paper and food. In a
support women by buying their handicrafts.
different vein, some ships recycle engine cooling water to heat passenger cabins.
Getting around locally. Consider walking, bicycling or taking public transit in place of motorized trans-
portation. Some green hotels provide bicycles. Active travelers might consider a hiking or biking tour as their vacation.
All aboard. Trains trump planes for fuel efficiency, requiring half as much energy per passenger. Think
about getting your groups “on track.”
Fair trade practices. The fair trade movement encourages tourists in developing countries to buy from
low-income artisans and farmers. It connects small producers with marketers by cutting out middlemen and ensuring adequate compensation for the work.
Voluntourism. Make a difference by helping build a school or providing disaster relief in a com-
munity at home or abroad. Sign up for a day during the vacation or make the project your trip.
Photos Courtesy © 2012 JupiterImages Corporation Fair Trade Photo Courtesy of Marek Uliasz/Bigstock Photos
12 December 2012
industry forecast ❖ vanessa day on location: midwest ❖ t has been called the “lost decade.” The years following
perception of America as unfriendly to foreigners. Inbound
the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers saw a pronounced
tourism, moreover, took a hit during the 2008-2009 recession,
drop in international visitors to America.
which slowed any kind of rebound.
Over the last 10 years, the U.S. travel industry has expe-
As the U.S. has gradually made its way out of the re-
rienced multiple challenges that have affected the number of
cession, inbound tourism has emerged as a bright spot for
tourists visiting America. The Sept. 11 attacks had a direct
the economy. America has seen how much it lost in the
impact on trips to the U.S. not only because of concern over
wake of the attacks, and steps are being taken to bring
air travel safety, but also because of strict security regulations
tourists back and make the U.S. a highly desirable desti-
put in place in the aftermath. The regulations changed the
Inbound Tourism Offers Promise for U.S. Tour Industry The international market is growing steadily and branching out from the gateway cities
Flag Illustration by Robert Forrest/Bigstock Photos Plane Photo by Mikael Damkier/Bigstock Photos
December 2012 13
industry forecast ❖ The U.S. travel industry has already started to experience
the overall travel expenditure in the U.S., adding $121 billion to
a boost in international tourists visiting the U.S. According to
the economy in 2009, $133.1 billion in 2010, and an estimated
Business Monitor International (BMI), there were 54.9 million
$140.6 billion in 2011. BMI forecasts that expenditures will
international arrivals to the U.S in 2009. This increased to 55.8
reach $149.8 billion in 2012 and jump to $180.2 billion in 2016.
million in 2010 and an estimated 58 million in 2011. That num-
Furthermore, U.S. Department of Commerce data released
ber is forecasted to reach 60.4 million by the end of 2012 and
in August reveals that the U.S. is on track for another record-
70.6 million by 2016, a significant jump from the levels seen in
breaking year of travel and tourism. In June, year-over-year
the early 2000s. These international travelers contributed to
expenditures by overseas travelers rose 7%, a rate that, if maintained, could boost revenue to over $169 billion by the end of 2012. Canada and Mexico are the leading tourism markets for the U.S., followed by the United Kingdom. Arrivals from these three countries in 2012 are forecasted to reach 19.9 million, 15.2 million and 4.2 million, respectively. While the positions of Canada and Mexico are expected to hold steady through 2016, a number of developing markets show promise. China and Brazil have experienced immense economic growth in recent years, escalating the middle class’s wealth and ability to travel, thus opening new opportunities for the U.S. to attract tourists from these countries. The positive reports are good news for those in the receptive tourism industry, such as Matt Grayson of the Receptive Services Association of America, an organization of tour companies dealing with the international inbound market. “There has been a sustained increase in the amount of travelers into the U.S.,” Grayson said. “Through May, we had 14 straight months of growth.” Europe has always been a strong market for tour operators, but China and Brazil have really burst onto the scene in recent years, leading to a “broadening and diversifying of the market,” Grayson said.
14 December 2012
GROWTH IN EMERGING MARKETS While China certainly presents opportunities for companies and destinations, the market can be difficult to work with. Up until early 2008, the Chinese could not travel to certain destinations without government approval. However, the U.S. was able to sign an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with China that opened up leisure travel for the average Chinese citizen to come to America. Since then, the market has increased
“A lot more international visitors want to get to the middle, they want to see what Middle America is really like.” —Matt Grayson Receptive Services Association of America
significantly. Still, there are limitations with this group, according to Jake Steinman, president of the NAJ Group, which organizes business-tobusiness conferences for the trade and produces thetouroperator.com. “Most of these emerging markets like China and India really need to have very specialized programs,” Steinman said. “While many smaller regions might want to handle international visitors, they are just not set up for it.” However, there are opportunities for smaller tour operators to take advantage of the rise in inbound tourism, which is expected to continue into the coming year, said Lisa Simon, president of the National Tour Association. The NTA has experience with inbound tourism from China. It established the NTA Visit USA Center in November 2010 to promote travel to the U.S. by connecting Chinese travel providers with registered tour operators in America. Simon said it has 145 approved tour operators that offer professional guides who speak both Mandarin and English, and a quality itinerary with worthy activities and destinations for the Chinese market. More tour companies across the country hope to get in on the influx of international visitors, but it can be tough since most of the travel is taking place in the well-known locations on the East and West Coasts. “The international market is there, but the main challenge is getLeisureGroupTravel.com
December 2012 15
industry forecast ❖ Tourist Arrivals by Country
Canada Mexico United Kingdom Japan Germany France South Korea Australia Italy Brazil
Business Monitor International
(arrivals in thousands)
ting it from these main cities to other places,” said Steinman.
effect it has on the economy, the U.S. moved to create its first
“It is not well dispersed, it’s highly concentrated.” While major
formal tourism office to help promote the country to interna-
cities like New York and Los Angeles get much of the atten-
tional tourists. It was founded in 2010 as the Corporation for
tion, lately there has been a shift that could give the smaller
Travel Promotion but now operates as Brand USA. The orga-
players a fighting chance.
nization’s goal is to drive job creation and economic growth by
“A lot more international visitors want to get to the middle,
marketing the U.S. as a premier destination for international
they want to see what Middle America is really like,” said
travelers. Many in the industry believe Brand USA will bolster
Grayson. “There is a lot of promise there for markets that may
the already hot market for international tourism.
not traditionally have seen the international market as a priority.”
“We didn’t have a collective central force marketing the U.S.
This especially holds true for emerging markets, such as
as a whole,” said Simon. “So certain regions, certain states,
China and Brazil, he said. The European market is slightly
certain cities may have been seeing strong markets from par-
oversaturated because for many years receptive tour opera-
ticular countries based on targeting they were doing them-
tors were mainly focused on those tourists. Only now have they
selves, but the U.S. as a whole wasn’t really out there
given more attention to South America and Asia.
advertising more than the gateways.”
Simon has also seen a desire to visit more of America. “First-time travelers primarily are going to the gateway cities,” she acknowledged. “However, what we’re also seeing is that there’s already a market …that wants to see more of the U.S. outside of the gateways.” As a result, many tour operators have started to package more of the country into their itineraries, rather than just focus on major metropolitan areas.
The effort “showcases the diversity of experiences available in the United States in a fresh and unexpected light, inviting visitors to ‘Discover this land, like never before.’”
Countries around the world have been marketing themselves aggressively for years because tourism has been and still is one of the main drivers of economic growth. The U.S. has realized that tourism is a vital component of the economy. Brand USA initiatives could help the U.S. overcome challenges with inbound tourism and play a major role in the growth in the market. In fact, the industry has already seen return on investment.
The burgeoning interest in experiencing more of America
In a Sept. 19, 2012, press release, Brand USA announced pre-
is due in part to the federal government establishing its
liminary results of its marketing efforts since launching its first-
first ever united marketing effort for the entire country: Brand
ever comprehensive marketing campaign in May. The effort
“showcases the diversity of experiences available in the United
As a result of the uptick in inbound tourism and the positive 16 December 2012
States in a fresh and unexpected light, inviting visitors to ‘DisLeisureGroupTravel.com
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December 2012 17
industry forecast ❖ Travel Expenditure by International Travelers
(in US$ millions) Business Monitor International
cover this land, like never before,’” according to the Brand
USA website. The first wave of advertising launched in three
The energy and excitement surrounding Brand USA is cer-
markets—Canada, the U.K. and Japan—and intent to visit
tainly promising for America’s travel industry. Most agree that
increased in each of those countries, rising 13 points, 17 points
having a dedicated, united force promoting the country will help
and 11 points, respectively.
increase the U.S. share of the global market. However, there are issues that still pose a hindrance to the overall success of inbound tourism. As previously mentioned, security regulations put in place in the aftermath of 9/11 have stifled international visitation due to long wait times for travel visas and intensive
application processes. The State Department and De-
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China, interview wait times now average five days. The success is due to increased capacity at embassies in China and Brazil. Improvements also can be attributed to a program allowing officers to waive in-person interviews for low-risk applicants
18 December 2012
looking to renew visas. Easing the procedure and reducing wait times have made it simpler for tourists to navigate the visa application, leading to more demand for travel visas. In fact, demand from Brazil grew 38% in the first half of 2012, and demand grew in China by 48%, according to a White House report. The strength in the inbound tourism market is undeniable, and recent steps taken by the U.S. and by tour operators across the country will help it maintain the momentum. Still, it is very vulnerable, Steinman noted, and the smallest interruption or complication could hurt the industry. For instance, one of the country’s weaknesses is at the point of entry at airports, where not properly trained workers exude a sense of insensitivity and asperity. Steinman said this paints a negative image of the U.S. and needs to be addressed. “We’ve got money to promote ourselves internationally and we’ve got a consistent message,” said Grayson. “Now, we’ve got to make sure once they step off that plane here in the U.S. that they have a good experi-
ence.” The U.S. has done a good job of marketing itself, spreading the word about all the wonderful places to discover within its borders. Now, tour operators must leverage that and provide unforgettable memories for tourists. Whether it is through creating personalized itineraries, visiting exceptional destinations or catering to cultural needs, U.S. tour organizations have a mission not only to con-
room suites. Free breakfast.
tinue to grow the markets by providing great experiences, but encourage
With its spacious two-room suites, sparkling pool, Free Signature Breakfast Buffet,
guests to return over and over again.
complimentary parking, and all just 1.5 miles from Walt Disney World® Resorts,
Because the beauty of America is that
Buena Vista Suites is the perfect place for your group to stay and play in Orlando.
you can never see everything in just one trip. LGT (Inbound tourism statistics courtesy of Business Monitor International,
December 2012 19
By Espen Falkenhaug
Building a Global Resume
outh travel is one of the most dynamic markets in
global tourism. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization and WYSE Travel Confedera-
tion research, 20 percent of all international tourists are
young people between the ages of 18 and 35—and that number is expected to rise. Today’s students and young people are tech savvy,
Inquisitive students travel the world to explore, learn and add life experiences
which has an impact on how they travel. Experts in tweeting and texting, with information constantly at their fingertips, they like to gather and share information. They are looking for meaningful and unique activities—especially to share with others back home. One of the greatest impacts on youth travel in recent years is the economic downturn. Young people of working age are experiencing greater unemployment than the majority of the global population. As a result, they often see travel as an avenue to increase their chances of finding a better job and to build on their individual knowledge and understanding.
Young people have always been fascinated by travel because as they explore the world, they discover themselves along the way. This is a transformative experience, which is why they continue to do it the rest of their lives. They are not just traveling for the sake of traveling. They go abroad to learn, engage, study, as interns or volunteers and to gain professional and interpersonal skills and experiences. Today’s youth are discovering that the benefits of travel go beyond simple learning and boosting resumes. By participating in another culture, they enrich their own lives and the lives of others.
20 December 2012
The key here, again, is they are looking for meaningful Photos Courtesy © 2012 JupiterImages Corporation
Viewing international travel as an avenue to a better job, students acquire keen cultural insights while having fun and seeing the world.
experiences. How do they find meaning? Through interacting with locals on a personal level. For example, rather than go to a museum, they prefer to visit a local school and learn alongside its pupils. The World Youth & Student Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation is a global network of youth, student and educational travel professionals. The Netherlands-based nonprofit organization brings together hundreds of business owners and others who were once young travelers and now LeisureGroupTravel.com
dedicate their lives to the field. They, too, are tailoring to the next generation of globetrotters by creating travel experiences that are meaningful and connect young people directly to the cultures they visit. But one thing hasn’t changed. Young people have always been fascinated by travel because as they explore the world, they discover themselves along the way. This is a transformative experience, which is why they continue to do it the rest of their lives. The full economic impact of youth travel is still to be fully investigated and researched, but the industry itself is worth over $173 billion in 2012, so not an industry to be underestimated.
Espen Falkenhaug, director general, World Youth & Student Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation
Research consistently shows not only the valuable economic impact that students are having on destinations around the world, but also the great social impact they exert through volunteer programs or visiting countries affected by conflict or natural disaster. As we are all aware, travel can offer life-changing opportunities for our young
Group events are all about enjoying each other’s company. So why not plan yours in the place with the most thrilling attractions and versatile accommodations – “The Waterpark Capital of the World!®” Not only do we have the largest concentration of waterparks in the world, we also have a pretty good concentration of smiles. email@example.com | (800) 223-3557 MeetInTheDells.com
citizens to discover new cultures and learn new skills, preparing them for a world that is ever more connected and dependent on peaceful cooperation. If you would you like to find out more about helping young travelers broaden their global perspective, consider attending the 22nd World Youth and Student Travel Conference in Sydney, Australia. (www.wystc.org) LGT LeisureGroupTravel.com
December 2012 21
on student travel â?–
Via social media, young travelers share their travel experiences with friends back home.
The New Youth Marketplace: Gen Y ur industry more than most others
they are and being able to share their
has seen an incredible expansion
lives minute-by-minute via social media
in youth and student travel over
is as natural and expected from them as
the last decade. The United Nations
having a television was for their parents.
World Tourism Organization reports that
Media sources have even reported that
almost 200 million trips this year will be
many in this generation would prefer to
undertaken by youth travelers, with that
forgo sexual intercourse for a month
number expected to climb to 300 million
rather than not have access to Face-
book. This is the domain into which you
But who are these travelers? What
22 December 2012
do they want to do? Why do they travel?
As a company trying to gain a
And how can your company engage
foothold in the youth marketplace, there
are a few things you need to keep in
In order to tap into the youth market-
mind. Gen Y believes in the global, so-
place you have to better understand the
cial community and wants to be involved
Generation Y (15-30) demographic, the
in the creation and customization of the
most technologically and marketing
products and services they use. They
savvy generation in history. They have
see social media as their most important
taken the next step and melded tech-
news source because of its instanta-
nology and their social life into a new
neous and personalized nature. Peer re-
mobile socio-electric culture. Having in-
view is far and above the most trusted
stant access to information wherever
source of information about products LeisureGroupTravel.com
Having instant access to information wherever they are and being able to share their lives minute-by-minute via social media is as natural and expected from them as having a television was for their parents. Gen Y clamors for new technology while putting ancient wonders on its bucket list.
and services. They are an emotionally charged, experience-driven generation that views leisure activities as
A company that wishes to dominate within this group should
part of their lifestyle and not merely a luxury. The minute-by-
therefore strive to empower their customers by allowing them
minute sharing of their lives has created an intense form of
to be a part of the creative and marketing process, listen in-
competition within their social circle, each one desiring brag-
tently and respond to feedback, be willing to reinvent them-
ging rights over the others. The continuing trend of â€œgamifica-
selves constantly and maintain a strong social and mobile
tion,â€? whereby companies offer challenges or competitions that
presence. If a company can do this, they will gain the affec-
can be shared via social media, is an obvious exploitation of
tion, trust and patronage of one of the largest and most rapidly
expanding consumer bases in the world. LGT
December 2012 23
on student travel ❖
STUDENT TRAVEL PLANNING GUIDE: THE KEY TO BETTER YOUTH TRIPS
n overnight trip often provides students their first true taste of independence—a chance to be away from home in a carefree setting. It
can be a real eye-opener, a monumental event in a young person’s life. But these adventures don’t just happen—even a short getaway involves considerable legwork, as tour planners know. Anyone organizing a youth trip will find tons of practical tips in the 2013 edition of Student Travel Planning Guide. Written by educators, the comprehensive 52-page guide is published by Premier Tourism Marketing, parent company of Leisure Group Travel. Randy Mink, managing editor of Student Travel Planning Guide, said, “Tour planners interested in expanding their educational travel offerings— or jumping into the student market for the first time—will reap many valuable lessons in this one-of-a-kind primer. It’s a good place to start your homework.” Freshened up with new content, the fourth annual edition of Student Travel Planning Guide mixes how-to advice with listings of destinations, attractions and hotels eager to host student groups. Sections include:
✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓
Setting a Trip-Planning Timeline Working with Tour Operators Choosing a Hotel Chartering a Motorcoach Chaperone Selection Student Discipline Group Travel Insurance
remier Tourism Marketing has two products that complement the Student Travel Planning Guide. StudentTravelDirectory.com, with listings
and links to thousands of student-friendly destinations and businesses, is designed to be the premier research tool for student travel organizers. InSite on Student Travel is a monthly e-newsletter with ideas, new developments and destination reports. To obtain a copy of Student Travel Planning Guide or subscribe to the newsletter, visit insite.studenttraveldirectory.com. 24 December 2012
WHERE BUFFALO ROAM
Vestiges of cowboy culture and Indian heritage captivate groups touring the hills and plains of
By Randy Mink
hink South Dakota and visions of the Old West flood
buffalo thundering across the plains. A wild frontier, it was the
your mind—images straight from the history books,
stomping grounds of iconic characters like Sitting Bull and
shoot-’em-up movies and TV shows like Little House
Crazy Horse, Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.
on the Prairie. For groups in search of true Americana and the
From the farmlands of eastern South Dakota to the Black
romance of our pioneer past, this is the land of gold miners
Hills in the west, tour groups find plenty of attractions and ac-
and gunslingers, homesteaders and covered wagons, cow-
tivities that showcase the state’s wild and wooly heritage.
pokes rounding up cattle and Native Americans in pursuit of
Choose from rodeos and powwows, museums and galleries, trail rides and chuckwagon suppers, wildlife watching and panning for gold. South Dakota is home to the Great Sioux Nation, which dominated the Northern Plains by the end of the 18th century. Today’s Sioux Nation is made up of nine Lakota, Nakota and Dakota tribes that welcome visitors to their communities. Nearly 72,000 Native Americans live in South Dakota, accounting for 8.8 percent of the population. Powwows, rich with photo opportunities, feature singers, dancers and drum groups, along with craft displays, cultural exhibits and traditional foods like Indian fry bread and fruit pudding (wojapi). You’ll find dancers clad in buckskin and cloth garments decorated with shells, feathers, teeth and beads. Among the best-known events are the Oglala Nation Powwow & Rodeo in Pine Ridge (first full weekend in August) and October’s Black Hills Powwow & Art Market
Photos Courtesy of South Dakota Department of Tourism
The spirit of South Dakota is reflected in color-splashed powwows and in historic Deadwood, where Wild Bill Hickok entertains.
26 December 2012
in Rapid City, held on Native American Day weekend. (Colum-
cated near the Capitol, it tells the stories of early homestead-
bus Day in South Dakota was renamed Native American Day
ers and gold miners. Indian artifacts include a tipi, prayer rock
and rare horse effigy.
Five tribes maintain their headquarters along the mighty
The Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center, at St.
Missouri River in the Great Lakes tourism region of central
Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, is another tour high-
South Dakota. Dominating the landscape, the river cuts across
light in the Great Lakes region. On display are feather head-
endless prairies and includes four massive reservoirs that
dresses, beaded moccasins, a mounted buffalo and a 36-foot
serve as recreational lakes. Threading the region from the Ne-
diorama of the prairie as it sweeps from the Missouri River to
braska border to North Dakota is the Native American Scenic
the Black Hills. Contemporary works by Northern Plains artists
Byway, which abounds with memorial markers, museums and
are another crowd-pleaser.
other sites that commemorate the heritage of the Sioux Na-
South Dakota’s most famous Native American tourist
tion. It passes through the lands of the Yankton, Lower Brule,
attraction is a work in progress near Custer. Crazy Horse
Crow Creek, Cheyenne River and Standing Rock tribes.
Memorial, a colossal mountain carving begun in 1948, is
On the byway near Fort Pierre, the Buffalo Interpretive Center explains the importance of buffalo in Native American
slowly but surely taking shape. The Black Hills’ fifth granite face is only 17 miles from Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
culture through exhibits and videos. Owned by the Lower Brule
The rendering of Lakota leader Crazy Horse, who defeated
Sioux tribe, the center overlooks one of its three bison pas-
General Custer and his troops in 1876 at the Battle of Little Big
tures. The Lower Brule’s Golden Buffalo Casino has a motel,
Horn in Montana, was started 64 years ago by sculptor Kor-
convention center, restaurant and 198 slots. Eight other tribal
czak Ziolkowski. He was invited by Lakota elders to create a
casinos operate in South Dakota.
tribute to Native Americans and let people know “the red man
Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center in Fort Pierre spotlights the official state sport. Displays honor local hero Tibbs (1929-1990), a world champion saddle bronc rider who was described as the Babe Ruth of his sport.
has great heroes also.” Ziolkowski’s family has continued the work since his death in 1982. From a viewing deck less than a mile away, visitors to Crazy Horse Memorial can see the drilling and bulldozing and feel
In Pierre, the state capital, the Cultural Heritage Center
explosive blasts. Last season workers defined the chief’s hand
preserves South Dakota pioneer and Lakota heritage. Lo-
extending toward his ancestral lands. The 90-foot-tall face was
December 2012 27
South Dakota completed in 1998, and the carving of Crazy Horse on horseback will eventually be 641 feet long and 563 feet high. Visitors can see Dynamite and Dreams, a movie about the memorial, and the Indian Museum of North America. In season there’s a nightly laser light show on the mountain. In Custer State Park, a herd of 1,300 buffalo roams freely and often stops traffic on the 18-mile Wildlife Loop. Other watchable wildlife includes pronghorn antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and prairie dogs. Many groups opt for the open-air Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour into the park’s backcountry. Custer State Park visitors can watch cowboys and cowgirls drive the herd during the annual Buffalo Roundup, which next year will switch from the last Monday to the last Friday of Sep-
Old-time craftsmanship thrives at Hansen Wheel & Wagon in Letcher.
tember. The park staff sorts, brands and vaccinates the animals in preparation for the fall buffalo sale. A Western and
cowboy dinner shows. At Circle B Ranch Chuckwagon in Hill
Native American arts festival takes place on Buffalo Roundup
City, for example, guests enjoy musical entertainment, a gun-
fight and a meal of roast beef, buffalo or barbecue chicken with
Rapid City, located on I-90 at the edge of the Black Hills
foil-wrapped potatoes, baked beans, biscuits and applesauce.
National Forest, is the gateway to Mount Rushmore, Crazy
Ranch activities include woodcarving demonstrations, gem
Horse Memorial, Custer State Park and other Black Hills at-
panning and trail rides through the Black Hills National Forest.
tractions. South Dakota’s second largest city (pop. 67,956) has
Other evening options include Fort Hays Chuckwagon Din-
its own share of Western lore. The Journey Museum, for ex-
ner and Music Show (see the Dances with Wolves movie set)
ample, chronicles the region’s history from dinosaur days to
and Flying T Chuckwagon Supper & Show (next to Reptile
more recent times, covering everything from Lakota culture to
the arrival of miners, mountain men and military expeditions.
A trip to South Dakota is not complete without a stop at
In historic downtown Rapid City, shops like Prairie Edge
Wall Drug, one of America’s most famous roadside attractions
Trading Co. & Galleries sell a variety of Indian crafts, from
since 1931. Besides every imaginable cowboy and Indian sou-
drums and dolls to beaded jewelry and painted buffalo robes.
venir for sale, the retail/dining complex in Wall, 50 miles east of
At Sioux Pottery visitors can see Native American artists at
Rapid City on I-90, offers picture-taking props and animated
work as they form and paint vases, burial urns and other
displays like a life-size cowboy orchestra. Three dining rooms
pieces from the red clay of the Black Hills. Also downtown is
boast a world-class collection of Western and Native American
The City of Presidents, a self-guided walking tour of 42 life-
art. Signature menu items include hot roast beef sandwiches,
size bronze statues of U.S. presidents.
buffalo burgers, homemade donuts and five-cent coffee.
Groups in the Rapid City area can choose from several
The town of Wall, located at the northern edge of the Badlands, is less than an hour north of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Oglala Sioux. Visitors to the reservation can admire Native American artwork—paintings, beadwork, quillwork, wood and stone carvings—at The Heritage Center at Red Cloud, on the campus of Red Cloud Indian School. The Red Cloud Indian Art Show is held from the first Sunday in June to the second Sunday in August. Also on the reservation is Oglala Lakota College Historical Center. In the northern Black Hills, the town of Deadwood embodies all the stereotypes of the Wild West. Founded in 1876 as a mining camp, Deadwood was built on gold, gambling and gunpowder. Guests today can experience its bold and bawdy past at 80 gaming halls. Carefully restored since gambling was
Dancers electrify crowds at October’s Black Hills Powwow in Rapid City.
28 December 2012
approved in 1989, the entire town is a National Historic LandLeisureGroupTravel.com
mark. Brick-paved streets, period lighting and old-time trolleys
year’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant, an outdoor theater
enhance the atmosphere, and actors take part in a daily shoot-
production, are July 5-7, 12-14 and 19-21.
out during the season.
Just as the settlers and fortune seekers did more than a
The new $5.25-million home of Deadwood’s Days of ’76
hundred years ago, group travelers will find a world of pos-
Museum opened this past summer. Housing Western and In-
sibilities in South Dakota, where the Midwest meets the
dian artifacts, it showcases the state’s largest collection of
West. Stunning landscapes, slices of history, places to shop,
horse-drawn vehicles, some of them used in the parade held
shows to see…it’s all there in the land of Great Faces and
during the Days of ’76 Rodeo celebration every July. Groups in
Great Places. LGT
Deadwood also can tour Broken Boot Gold Mine and see the gravesites of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane at Mount Moriah Cemetery. Interactive exhibits at Tatanka: Story of the Bison explain the close relationship between bison and Native Americans. Its centerpiece is a larger-than-life bronze sculpture of 14 bison and three riders in pursuit. One company in eastern South Dakota brings America’s Western legacy to life and offers tours for groups only. Hansen Wheel & Wagon Shop in Letcher is a carriage and wagon manufacturer that custom-builds and restores historically accurate covered wagons, chuckwagons and stagecoaches. Groups can witness the art of the blacksmith, wheelwright and coach maker, and view a collection of 50-plus wagons. More nostalgia awaits at the Dakota Discovery Museum in nearby Mitchell, famed for its Corn Palace. Located on the Dakota Wesleyan University campus, the historic village complex includes an 1885 schoolhouse, 1908 country church, 1914 train depot and the 1886 home of one of the Corn Palace’s co-founders. Exhibits spotlight Indian cultures, fur trading, railroading, farming and ranching. One of four art galleries features the abstract art of Yankton Sioux artist Oscar Howe. Also in town is Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, an archaeological site with excavated artifacts on display. Fans of author Laura Ingalls Wilder flock to De Smet, a small farming community on the prairie that served as a setting for six of her “Little House” books about childhood memories of life with her pioneering family. Groups can tour two homes filled with items that belonged to Ingalls and her family, plus the first school she attended. Ingalls Homestead/Laura’s Living Prairie, a living history farm on land homesteaded by Pa Ingalls, offers covered wagon rides, hands-on pioneering activities and an 1880s school session. Dates for next Rodeo is South Dakota’s official state sport. Riders demonstrate their skills in events like calf roping.
December 2012 29
on location: midwest ❖
The Lincoln Highway
Groups can enjoy centennial festivities and historical attractions as they follow the route of America’s first cross-country road Cars can still travel an original brick stretch of the Lincoln Highway in Elkhorn, a suburb of Omaha. Above: The highway in Grand Island, 1915.
his morning, you likely filled your travel mug, started
coln Highway Association on July 1, 1913 to promote the road
your car and drove to work. You did this without a sec-
and fund the project.
ond thought. You do it every day. You click your key
In 1913, the idea of a coast-to-coast road was a bold, in-
fob, use your automatic starter to warm the car and tune into
novative plan. Mapping the route was one thing, paving it quite
your favorite morning radio show. Whether you commute a few
another. There were sections of dirt, sand and pasture, marked
blocks or 50 miles, your biggest obstacle is other drivers and
only by posts, poles and hand-written signs. But once the idea
the inconvenience of slow-moving traffic.
of traveling independently became a reality there was no hold-
Now think back to life 100 years ago. You couldn’t just hop in your car and go wherever you wanted. Why not? Because the roads simply didn’t exist. In the early 20th century as more Americans owned cars, the country lacked quality roads linking cities and towns, and
Nebraska Tourism Commission
travel was a monumental undertaking.
ing America back. The freedom of the open road was intoxicating and for five decades, before the development of the Interstate system, the Lincoln Highway was a very busy route, with Nebraska right in the center. As the center spot, Nebraska will play host to the Lincoln
Construction of the Lincoln Highway, the first transconti-
Highway’s Centennial Celebration, June 30-July 1. Named one
nental highway, changed everything. The idea was the brain-
of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2013 by the Amer-
child of Carl Fisher, the man responsible for the Indianapolis
ican Bus Association, the celebration will begin when East and
Motor Speedway. With help from fellow industrialists Frank
West Coast Centennial Auto Tours converge on Kearney, Neb.,
Seiberling (Goodyear) and Henry Joy (Packard), an improved,
for a parade and car show.
hard-surfaced road was envisioned that would stretch 3,380
Hundreds of antique, classic and modified cars from local
miles through 13 states connecting New York City to San Fran-
and national car clubs will be displayed on the brick streets of
cisco and all the towns in between. Fisher established the Lin-
downtown Kearney, along with historical re-enactors, period
December 2012 35
on location: midwest ❖
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: For a sampling of fun events in Nebraska next year, visit LeisureGroupTravel.com and enter this numerical code: 32527.
In Columbus, stop by Glur’s Tavern—the oldest continuously operating tavern west of the Mississippi River—or Dusters Restaurant and Gottberg Brew Pub. Built in a 1920s Ford assembly plant, Dusters is named for the long protective coats worn by travelers who rode in the open-air automobiles along the Lincoln Highway. The central region offers Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer. From May 1 to Labor Day, Stuhr’s 1890s Railroad Town becomes a living history community featuring costumed interpreters. Other popular stops include the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles in Lexington and Pony Express Station Museum in Gothenburg. Mail call: The Pony Express Station Museum in Gothenburg, Nebraska
The western region offers groups a taste of the Old West with Boot Hill cemeteries in Sidney and Ogallala. Summers at
music and food, and national and local history. The official Cen-
Ogallala’s Front Street Steak House & Crystal Palace Review
tennial Celebration will take place July 1 at The Great Platte
bring Western stage shows complete with gun fights and
River Road Archway, which spans Interstate 80 near Kearney.
dance hall girls. At North Platte’s Buffalo Bill State Historical
Make time to see the Classic Car Collection, one of Nebraska’s
Park groups can tour the ranch house and barn that Col.
newest attractions, which features 140 vintage automobiles from the early 1900s to the 1980s. Whether you come for the Centennial Celebration or not, Nebraska’s stretch of the Lincoln Highway offers diversity, nostalgia and small-town charm. Now known as U.S. Highway 30, this state scenic and historic byway offers groups a glimpse into the past, features numerous original highway markers and boasts attractions from zoos to museums. Those intrigued by Lincoln Highway lore will find sections of original brick pavers that make up a 3.6-mile stretch of road near Elkhorn (now a suburb of Omaha); three blocks of original bricks in Fremont; and two blocks in Shelton. Shelton is also home to the Lincoln Highway Visitors Center, located in an
Enjoy a rip-roaring stage show at the Crystal Palace Review in Ogallala.
Nebraska Tourism Commission Photos
old bank. Be sure to schedule an appointment with Bob Stubblefield of the Shelton Historical Society, who makes the story
William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody built during the heyday of his
of the highway come alive for groups through stories and mem-
famous Wild West Show.
orabilia. In Grand Island, groups will find the only piece of orig-
In North Platte you also can discover the story of the fa-
inal Seedling Mile that remains in the country. (Seedling Miles
mous North Platte Canteen, where local volunteers served
were one-mile sections of paved road that were laid in rural
more than six million servicemen and women as they passed
areas to demonstrate the advantage of roads paved with con-
through town on trains during World War II. And, speaking of
crete and create interest in additional improvements.)
trains, North Platte is home to the world’s largest railroad yard,
The eastern portion of Nebraska’s Lincoln Highway stretches from Omaha to Central City. In Omaha groups can
Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard, which processes more than 150 trains and 10,000 railcars each day.
visit the zoo voted No. 1 in the country by TripAdvisor users.
You can find detailed Lincoln Highway itineraries, including
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has America’s
attractions, contact information and group-friendly dining
largest aquarium in a zoo, the world’s largest indoor desert and
options, at http://www.lincolnhighwaynebraskabyway.com/re-
nocturnal exhibit, and America’s largest indoor rainforest.
sources/itinerary. For more about the Centennial Celebration, go to www.visitkearney.org.
Obtain Nebraska visitor guides and itineraries and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info
For other information about group tours in Nebraska, visit http://grouptravel.visitnebraska.com. LGT
36 December 2012
LINCOLN HIGHWAY C E N T E N N I A L <ĞĂƌŶĞǇ͕EĞďƌĂƐŬĂ :ƵŶĞϯϬͲ:ƵůǇϭ͕ϮϬϭϯ
SUNDAY • JUNE 30, 2013 The Lincoln Highway era (1913-1950s) comes to life on Kearney’s “Main Street” • Grand parade of East & West Centennial auto tours • Lincoln Highway Era Show & Shine • Characters, music, food galore & more!
MONDAY • JULY 1, 2013 The Official Centennial is celebrated at the Great Platte River Road Archway & other locations around Kearney • Education & Tourist Camp • Craft & Food Court • 1:00pm Official Centennial Program
IN NEBRASKA, YOU CAN RECAPTURE
1-800-652-9435 Check website for full list of events!
888-444-1867, Dept. 3LGA
the magic of road trips past. And with all this history to experience, you’ll be inspired to relive great memories—and even make some new ones.
December 2012 37
on location: west ❖
Potpourri MIM artifacts include a Norwegian fiddle with ink drawings and mother-of-pearl inlay.
A quartet of entertaining options answers the question “What’s hot in the desert?”
s 2012 comes to an end and Arizona’s Centennial
events wind down, new and exciting attractions and events await groups as Arizona enters its second 100 years. Consider including some of these four crowd-pleasing stops in your next tour: The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is a great addition to any Arizona itinerary. This North Phoenix museum opened in April of 2010 and has grown consistently over the past two years. Like a jewel rising from the Ari-
MIM guests can play instruments from many lands.
zona desert, it is an inspiring attraction for sharing the world’s music. The MIM building is bright, open and dramatic, and the interior is designed to convey the graceful lines common to musical instruments. After visiting the Musical Instruments Museum in Brussels, Belgium, MIM’s founders, Robert Ulrich and Marc Felix, had a vision to create a museum and collection that featured the musical instruments and music of every country in the world. MIM houses the largest collection of its kind, containing over 14,000 objects from every continent and culture, including instruments from around 200 countries and territories. The instruments have both historic and artistic merit, and many are more than 50 years old. Using state-of-the-art audiovisual technology to show musical instruments being played in their original cultural context and delivering the sound of these instruments through high-quality headphones, MIM provides a one-of-a-kindexperience for groups. 38 December 2012
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Explore Arizona’s Spanish history along the Anza National Historic Trail. Go to LeisureGroupTravel.com and enter this numerical code: 32622.
A popular musical venue, Broadway Palm West Dinner Theatre, has changed hands and is now the Silver Star Playhouse. Located in Mesa, the Silver Star is the sister theater to Desert Star Playhouse in Salt Lake City, Utah, which has a solid reputation for producing family-friendly musical comedies. The Arizona theater opens Nov. 29 with The Phantom of the Opera: I’ve Grown Accustomed to your Face. As the title of the show suggests, the Silver Star Playhouse is not your typical Broadway-style theater. Instead of traditional Broadway plays, the show is an original musical parody with a melodramatic twist. Include Silver Star if your group wants to laugh, cheer the hero and boo the villain. Food is optional and is brought to your table. The menu includes gourmet hamburgers and pizza, fresh wraps and tempting desserts.
Mesa is also the spring training home
David Bradley (Chippewa), “The Tradition Lives On,” 2008
of the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs’ much an-
PHOENIX: 2301 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85004
ticipated new complex in Mesa features
602.252.8848 | Light Rail stop: Central/ Encanto
a 15,000-seat ballpark, a city park and
sports facility, and an adjacent retail and entertainment complex called Wrigleyville West. Developers hope to lure Chicagoarea businesses to the complex, which will be an assortment of retail and restaurant offerings for residents and visitors during spring training season and all year long. The complex is scheduled to open in December, 2013.
Also in the East Valley, at the base of the Superstition Mountains near Apache Junction, the Arizona Renaissance Festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2013. Every Saturday and Sunday from Feb. 9 to March 31, the festival is home to 12 entertainment stages featuring musical, dance and comedy performances. Groups are able to interact with a colorful cast of approximately 2,000 characters. A marketplace with more than 200 shops, studios and galleries is full of arts and crafts. Jousting tournaments are one of the most popular attractions, and Obtain Arizona visitor guides and itineraries and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info
food vendors offer a wide variety of offerings. LGT December 2012 39
on location: south ❖
roving yet again that a trip to the Great Smoky Moun-
American Country Show offers a 40-minute tribute to the
tains doesn’t have to be about the “same-old, same-old,”
best of country music, including special appearances by some
the communities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville
of country’s most legendary performers. The park’s 2013
are ramping up for a busier-than-ever 2013 with new attrac-
Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival starts Nov. 9 with the new
tions, events, eateries, shopping and shows designed to lure
headliner show Dollywood’s Christmas Carol, based on the
not only new groups, but returning ones as well.
Charles Dickens classic. Planners of student tours will be delighted to learn that
Dollywood’s Great American Summer 2013 The folks at Dollywood theme park have been busy bring-
Tennessee’s first-ever water coaster, RiverRush, debuts at Dollywood in May.
ing a fresh new approach to the coming 2013 season. In what is billed as “The Great American Summer 2013,” the park is of-
Bears, Balloon Rides & Wax Figures
fering extended hours (10 a.m.-10 p.m.), starting each day with
A new opportunity for groups visiting the Smokies in 2013
a live performance of the National Anthem and flag-raising cer-
comes in the form of “The Three Bears Experience,” a com-
emony and capping the night with a fireworks extravaganza
prehensive package offered for 20 or more passengers. The
synchronized to music. Getting under way June 22, the Great
Three Bears General Store complex on the Pigeon Forge
American Summer ends on Aug. 4.
Parkway includes everything from shopping and gem mining
New shows at Dollywood include Cirque Shanghai, bring-
to a habitat for black bears that were rescued in the national
ing a troupe of world-class acrobats direct from China during
park. The bears have been treated for injuries or starvation and
the park’s Festival of Nations from March 23-April 22. Country
given a new home where visitors can view and feed them.
music takes center stage May 10-Aug. 26 when The Great
Groups taking part in the Three Bears experiential package
What’s New in the Smokies Fresh attractions and special 2013 events await groups in Eastern Tennessee Chinese acrobats will dazzle audiences next spring when Cirque Shanghai comes to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge.
40 December 2012
Obtain Tennessee visitor guides and itineraries and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info
freshen up a tired itinerary. In spring Pigeon Forge salutes Vietnam veterans with “the parade they never got.” Welcome Home from Vietnam is a four-day gathering (April 15-18) of veterans, their families and grateful Americans in a star-studded event produced by the City of Pigeon Forge, Theatres of the Smokies and Travel Alliance Partnership (TAP). Launched in 2012, the event drew such enthusiastic rePose with the stars at the Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge.
sponse that officials decided it was worth repeating for the observance of the 50th anniversary of the war. Featuring a huge
get free admission to the bear habitat, a free step-on greeting
parade on April 16, the event offers a Tennessee Celebrity
from “Smoky the Bear,” free fudge, and free tastings from gour-
Concert as well as music shows with patriotic tributes.
met food stations in the store. A $15-per-person upgrade gives
Meanwhile, neighboring Sevierville “springs” into action
each group member a Christmas ornament, 5x7 group photo
May 17-18 with its celebrated Bloomin’ Bluegrass and Bar-
with Smoky the Bear, ice cream and a bucket of mining ore.
beque Festival. Teams of cooking competitors vie for prizes,
Group dining can be arranged as part of the package.
while musical acts bring two large stages to life with everything
Just down the Parkway, groups will find a hard-to-miss new attraction. A reincarnation of a previous version that graced Gatlinburg for years before being lost to a massive fire, the Hollywood Wax Museum pays homage to the movie industry through an impressive array of exhibits, not to mention an over-the-top building facade showcasing the Statue of Liberty, King Kong and its own unique take on Mt. Rushmore. Also new is Wonders of Flight. From the open-air gondola of a tethered, helium-filled balloon, up to 30 guests can enjoy 360-degree panoramic views of the Smokies. Located on a landing platform behind WonderWorks, the permanently inflated balloon gives riders the sensation of being on a flying
“Dollywood’s Christmas Carol” will be based on the Dickens classic.
balcony. The 10-minute flight experience, with day and evening
from bluegrass to a Dolly Parton sound-a-like singing compe-
hours, is offered daily, weather permitting.
tition. Arts and crafts booths line the streets around Sevierville’s historic downtown square and courthouse, where visitors will
Festivals and Special Events Translate Into Group Fun A brand new festival comes to the Smokies from Sept. 2628, 2013, compliments of one of the hottest new attractions to hit Gatlinburg in years. Ole Smoky Moonshine debuts its first-ever Fast Cars ’N
have an opportunity to pose with the life-sized bronze sculpture of the country music queen, who calls Sevierville home. The Smokies are once again awash in nature’s color palette in the spring, and Gatlinburg pulls out all the stops to celebrate this lesser-known color season with its Smoky
Mason Jars Festival in Moonshine Holler on the Parkway in
Mountain Springfest, set for March 12-June 2. While not as
downtown Gatlinburg. While admission is free, there will be two
publicized as the area-wide Winterfest with its millions of lights
paid venues during the weekend: a concert and a Legends Din-
illuminating every nook and cranny, Springfest features events
ner. Moonshine-era cars and authentic stills will be on display
throughout Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains National
in the attraction’s River Road parking area, while bluegrass
Park. There is an arts and crafts show at the convention cen-
music, a cornhole tournament, contests and appearances by
ter, not to mention the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, which will
honest-to-goodness moonshiners round out the event.
be celebrating its 63rd year from April 24-28. Groups of na-
And, while they aren’t necessarily new, several special
ture-lovers, garden clubs or those simply looking to emerge
events lend themselves well to a group itinerary, providing a
from winter hibernation may find this season the ideal time to
more localized take on community life in the Smokies. Because
visit the Smokies, when crowds are somewhat less than sum-
most are free of charge, they are a cost-effective way to
mer vacation, fall foliage or holiday seasons. LGT
December 2012 41
on location: northeast ❖
Exhibits at the Maryland Historical Society (left) and B&O Railroad Museum mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The period will also be remembered with a celebration of the life of Harriet Tubman.
Special events and new attractions await groups in 2013
dustry during the war and includes numerous historical artifacts on public display for the first time. The Maryland Historical Society also opened a Civil War commemorative exhibit in 2011 called Divided Voices: Maryland in The Civil War. As the largest Civil
xciting things have been happening in Baltimore, and
War exhibit in the state, it illustrates the impact of the war on
even more events are in store for groups in the com-
the citizens of Maryland and the state itself. The exhibit fea-
ing year. With milestone commemorations honoring
tures a “Time Tunnel” that transports visitors back to 1861
the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, bicentennial of the War
through 3-D videos.
of 1812 and Harriet Tubman centennial, 2013 promises to be a year filled with landmark celebrations leading up to the StarSpangled Spectacular in 2014.
Harriet Tubman Remembered The life and legacy celebration of Harriet Tubman will take place in March 2013 on the 100th anniversary of her death.
Civil War Anniversary
Commemoration events and exhibits will be happening across
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the B&O
the state and along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad
Railroad Museum launched the exhibit The War Came by
Byway. Groundbreaking for the Harriet Tubman Underground
Train. Part of the five-year commemoration from 2011 until
Railroad State Park in Cambridge is set for March 2013 with
2015, the exhibit spotlights the role of the transportation in-
an expected opening date in early 2014.
42 December 2012
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Read about wild ponies that roam Assateague Island, a nature lover’s paradise owned by both Maryland and Virginia. Go to LeisureGroupTravel.com and enter this numerical code: 32783.
Fort McHenry’s historical interpreters bring the War of 1812 into focus.
War of 1812 Bicentennial
the history of our National Anthem and
In June of 2012, the Maryland Histori-
flag. This themed tour, narrated by “Fran-
cal Society opened the exhibit In Full
cis Scott Key,” is available through 2014
Glory Reflected: Maryland during the War
during the statewide commemoration of
of 1812. Filled with artifacts and docu-
the War of 1812.
ments donated by the Defenders of Balti-
While at the Inner Harbor, be sure to
more, it introduces visitors to Baltimore in
check out other newly opened attractions
the early 19th century and portrays the
such as the National Pinball Museum
evolution of the city as well as its role in
and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Oddito-
maritime trade. Open through 2014, the
rium. McCormick World of Flavors is
exhibit will leave visitors with a better un-
also new to the Inner Harbor and offers
derstanding of life in Maryland during the
cooking demonstrations as well as inter-
War of 1812. In addition, visitors can see
active stations where visitors can smell
the oldest surviving manuscript of Francis
and taste spices and receive their own fla-
Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner” in the
vor profile. An exciting new exhibit will be
Historical Society’s Star-Spangled Banner
added to the National Aquarium in Balti-
more in 2013. Blacktip Reef will offer
A staple among Baltimore attractions is
breathtaking views through a floor-to-ceil-
the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House,
ing window that allows visitors to step in-
historic home of Mary Pickersgill, maker of
side and feel as if they are a part of the
the American flag that inspired our Na-
exhibit. Interactive diving presentations
tional Anthem. The Flag House offers vis-
and shark feedings will happen daily.
itors a living history tour where they can
Groups can also visit the Historic
experience what life was like during the
Ships of Baltimore while at the Inner Har-
early 19th century.
bor. Ships represented include the USS
In July of 2012, Baltimore welcomed
Constellation, USS Torsk, US Coast Guard
the Raven as Cruises on the Bay’s newest
Cutter Taney and Lightship Chesapeake.
sightseeing tour boat. As a tribute to the
The collection of ships also includes the
War of 1812, the Raven offers a special
Seven Foot Tall Knoll Lighthouse. Located
National Anthem by Sea Tour. Groups
within walking distance of the Historic
aboard learn about the war in Maryland,
Ships are Haborplace and The Gallery,
the significant role of Baltimore Harbor and
where visitors can find great shopping and
December 2012 43
An experience worth sharing.
Obtain Maryland visitor guides and itineraries and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info
dining. The Maryland Science Center is also located within walking distance. From the Inner Harbor, hop on one of Baltimore’s free Charm City Circulatory buses and head to Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the “The Star Spangled-Banner” and the only unit of the National Park System to be designated a National Monument and Historic Shrine. Tour Fort McHenry to learn about its importance during the War of
Ocean City, Maryland Group Tours.
1812 and its role as a prison during the
Plan a group trip everyone will love. Explore nature or enjoy a historic Heritage Tour. Indulge in our unique shops and outlets. Offering entertainment and dining choices as vast as our 10 miles of award-winning beaches, you can’t help but have a great time.
Civil War. Begin your tour at the fort’s new visitor center by watching an ori-
Baltimore’s Star-Spangled Flag House tells the story of a famous seamstress.
entation film and browsing through exhibits. Visitors should allow two hours in order to complete the self-guided fort tour. Defenders Day is celebrated at Fort McHenry every Sept. 12 in honor of the Battle of Baltimore. Groups should also be sure to look into the Star-Spangled Baltimore Pass, which is good for admission into Fort McHenry, the Star-Spangled Banner Gallery
ococean.com For planning materials and assistance, contact the Group Tour & Travel Coordinator at 800-626-2326 or www.ococean.com.
at the Maryland Historical Society and Star-Spangled Banner Flag House. This celebratory period in Baltimore will end with a bang in September 2014 with the Star-Spangled Spectacular, which will kick off with Defender’s Day and feature special events to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore and the StarSpangled Banner. Group travel to Baltimore has become even more convenient with the recent opening of a motorcoach parking facility located just two miles from the Baltimore Visitor Center. Groups can register for the free motorcoach welcome program, which includes coupon books and information on special events happening around the city during their visit. Motorcoach drivers can experience all the new facility has to offer by enjoying free Wi-Fi, cable television, food vending and complimentary admission to the B&O Railroad Museum located nearby. With so many new additions alongside the already popular attractions, the group-friendly city of Baltimore is sure to have something for everyone and what better time to visit than during the once-in-a-lifetime historical commemorations throughout the coming year. LGT
44 December 2012
on location: south ❖
Virginia Beach Tour Salutes Our Troops
Travel partners join to stage a nostalgia-filled tour and support a worthy cause
Big Band sounds: The Tom Daugherty Orchestra offers a Glenn Miller tribute at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach.
Photos courtesy of Sandi Pufahl
ith its strong military presence and as home to many
from a tour product highlighted by four signature events,
veterans, Virginia Beach and the entire Hampton
each with a USO show theme.
Roads region appears to be the perfect destination
Planning for the tour began more than two years ago. It
for a group tour colored red, white and blue. It was a logical
all started with a simple sales call. On a planned trip to an
choice for a creative group travel event mounted this fall by
Ohio tour operators’ group leader show, Jim Coggin, tourism
Travel Alliance Partners (TAP).
sales manager of the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors
TAP’s four-day “Bob Hope USO Show Tribute” tour (Oct. 15-18) not only bolstered Virginia Beach’s group travel business but raised more than $20,000 for the USO in Hampton Roads (home of Seal Team 6). This significant donation came
Bureau, called on Bob Cline, president of U.S. Tours and a TAP member. Thanks for the memories: World War II nostalgia sweeps over Virginia Beach as a Bob Hope look-alike comes to town.
December October 2012 45
on location: south ❖
Obtain Virginia visitor guides and itineraries and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info
theme began to take shape. It was a great fit for the Hampton Roads area, and the majority of tour passengers today are of an age when USO-type entertainment was popular. With dates and a creative itinerary in place, Cline presented the tour to fellow members at the annual TAP Dance marketplace. The Bob Hope USO tour in Virginia Beach was a hit and the operators went to work. Only TAP members were able to sell the tour product. The concept was simple. U.S. Tours sold the four signature events to the individual TAP member, and they in turn built their own tour product around the USO theme. Only one was a daytime activity, allowing ample time for shopping and sightDancing to old favorites was part of the Virginia Beach USO tour.
“Part of my charge is to help our hotels, attractions and
seeing. In addition to Virginia Beach attractions, Norfolk and Williamsburg/Jamestown were included.
restaurants in the off-season, or need period,” Coggin explained.
The itineraries were as diverse as the points of origination
“As the motorcoach business has changed, we needed to
for each tour. A San Diego group enjoyed a five-day fly/drive
visit, arriving on Sunday prior to scheduled events and taking
Although the idea was hatched on a sales call, that was just
time to explore the Williamsburg area. A Cincinnati group de-
the beginning. Coggin went to work on his end and Cline on
parted Virginia Beach for Baltimore and on to a Northeast
his. After numerous telephone calls and e-mails, the USO
coastal cruise. A Texas group worked the scheduled events into their 12-day tour.
USO RAISES SPIRITS ince World War II, the mission of the USO, or United Services Organization, has been to lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families. A non-profit, congressionally chartered, private organization, it relies on the generosity of individuals, organizations and corporations for financial support. Each local USO affiliate is responsible for raising its own funds. Commenting on the donation from TAP’s four-day “Bob Hope USO Show Tribute” tour, Karen Licari, chief operating officer of the Hampton Roads/Central Virginia USO, said, “This money supports servicemen and their families and wounded warriors. We are just thrilled by this contribution.” In 1941 Bob Hope and a collection of celebrities entertained a group of airmen at California’s March Field. In 1943 he led his first overseas tour, and his Christmas tours to Vietnam began in 1964. Over the years entertainers like Marilyn Monroe, Raquel Welch, Sammy Davis Jr. and Bing Crosby, plus sports celebrities, accompanied Hope on his mission to spread cheer. In 2002 USO Care Package was created for troops deploying to Operation Enduring Freedom. In less than five years the program assembled its millionth care package. In 2003 free, international phone cards for service members were provided and USO Operation Phone Home was launched. In 2008 the USO opened a new center at Landstuhl (Germany) Regional Medical Center, the very first center dedicated to our wounded warriors.
Thirty-four groups attended and eight Virginia Beach hotels were used. More than 1,215 guests were entertained. Talent was brought in from Las Vegas and Dayton, Ohio. According to Cline, “The 2012 ‘Bob Hope USO Show Tribute’ is believed to be the largest privately funded group travel event this year.” The tour will be repeated next year. The lead-off event was a Monday evening tribute to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Following dinner, the show featured hit songs like Sherry, Stay, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Let’s Hang On and many more favorites from the ’60s group. A happy lady from Meridian, Conn. said, “Frankie Valli was absolutely fabulous. I remembered so much of the music and thoroughly enjoyed the songs I hadn’t heard before.” After a full day of touring area attractions, groups enjoyed an evening with “Old Blue Eyes,” Frank Sinatra, and a trip down
“Bob Hope” and band members appear at the Military Aviation Museum.
October 2012 46 December 2012
memory lane led by a Tommy Dorsey tribute band. Dinner was followed by a show that had them dancing in the aisles. The pride of Hoboken, N.J. romanced the audience with favorites from his illustrious career. A New Jersey group leader summed it up: â€œThis is so good. Itâ€™s just different than anything weâ€™ve done.â€? The final day began with a visit to the Military Aviation Museum, a Virginia Beach attraction that opened five years ago. The museum features beautifully restored World War I and World War II aircraft, most in flying condition. After a tour of the hangars, guests were treated to an air show featuring four of the vintage planes.
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In the lead-off event, a Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons tribute featured hits from the â€™60s.
â€œThe air show is a huge hit,â€? Cline said. â€œNo tour company could do this on their own. It took a partnership.â€? After lunch it was off to the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach. The groups had been given a small hint of what theyâ€™d be seeing when the Bob Hope impersonator and Captain Glenn Miller and the Army Air Force Band made a brief appearance at the air show. That was just the beginning. The guests would soon be transported back to a USO camp show hosted by Bob Hope, with memorable Big Band music and songs by the Andrews Sisters (Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy was a huge hit). After tributes to each branch
Discover one of Virginiaâ€™s favorite group travel attractions! Yankee CandleÂŽ Village is more than just a candle store. It is always snowing in the Holiday Park where you can visit with Santa in his Toy Shop! Hickory, Dickory & Doc, our animatronic band, will entertain you in the Town Square. Mrs. Clausâ€™ Bakery & Cafe offers an assortment of coffees, teas and tantalizing treats for dessert as well as an array of lighter fare. There is something fun for everyone! Group Tour Contact Information: Call 1-877-616-6510 or Email us at email@example.com.
of the military and Hopeâ€™s trademark Thanks for the Memories, there was hardly a dry eye in the room. The 2013 Virginia Beach USO tour, â€œThanks for the Memories,â€? is scheduled for Oct. 22-25. For details, visit http://ustours.biz/the-virginia-
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December 2012 47
on location: south ❖
he tourism region known as Georgia’s Historic Heartland is a treasure chest of diversity. History and hometown hospitality take center stage, but that’s just
the beginning. From art and orchards to a monastery and movies, you’ll find it all in
museum, is the place to start. Be certain to visit the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, which includes a tropical conservatory. The Georgia Museum of Art on the UGA campus offers free admission and a spectacular collection. Just a few miles from Athens in
this eclectic region. At the very northern tip of the region
Watkinsville is the historic Eagle Tavern,
sits Athens, home to the University of
opened in 1801 as a stagecoach stop.
Georgia (UGA). A recipient of the 2009
Tours are available by contacting the
Distinctive Destination award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the city showcases both its university affiliation and rich history. The Athens Welcome Center, located in a 1820s house
Oconee County Welcome Center. Conyers, about 30 miles from Atlanta, offers much to see and do. Spend your morning at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. Trappist Monks have made this tranquil setting
HISTORI C H E A RT L A N D
Southern culture thrives in charming towns south and east of Atlanta
50 December 2012
Shopping for antiques is a favorite pastime for visitors in Milledgeville. Above: Fitzpatrick House in Madison.
Obtain Georgia visitor guides and itineraries and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info
their home for more than 65 years. A
of the Night. It recently portrayed Mys-
new $6.5-million Monastic Heritage
tic Falls, Va. in The Vampire Diaries.
Center features a visitors center, Bon-
Continuing east on I-20 from Cov-
sai Garden Center and cafe. Next stop
ington leads to Madison, “the Town that
is the historic train depot and Conyers
Sherman Refused to Burn.” Antebellum
Welcome Center. Stroll Main Street
homes in downtown Madison welcome
with its unique shopping and fun eater-
groups. The Romanesque Schoolhouse,
ies. The Georgia International Horse
now the center for performing and visual
Park, a venue for the Atlanta Centen-
arts, is a must tour.
nial Olympic Games, hosts year-round
Rock Eagle Mound, built by Native
events with a calendar filled with fairs,
Americans, is listed on the National
festivals, concerts and shows.
Register of Historic Places and located
East on I-20, Porterdale has a
south of Madison towards the Ocoee
large number of original mill houses on
National Forest. Just a little further south
the National Register of Historic
lies Eatonton, where the stories of Joel
Places. Nearby Oxford is home of
Chandler Harris’ Br’er Rabbit come alive
Oxford College/Emory University.
at the Uncle Remus Museum.
Charming Covington is a destina-
After a scenic drive to the far east-
tion within a destination. A classic Southern community, it’s both pictur-
ern part of the Heartland region, you’ll Macon’s Cannonball House took a direct hit in 1864.
find Milledgeville, “Georgia’s Antebel-
esque and historic. Downtown Square with its inviting restau-
lum Capital.” A Historic Trolley Tour provided by the Convention &
rants and specialty shopping is a true classic. Civil War sites and
Visitors Bureau is a meaningful introduction to the city. Georgia’s
antebellum mansions tell a special story of Covington’s role.
Old Capital Museum is a perfect start after your trolley tour. The
Union forces entered the town on July 20, 1864 with orders to de-
Old Governor’s Mansion, a National Historic Landmark, now
stroy the bridges over the Yellow and Alcovy rivers. Atlanta was
serves as a museum. The Old State Capital, a fine example of
cut off from reinforcements and supplies from Augusta and the
Gothic architecture, was the seat of Georgia government for more
than 60 years. Also worth a visit are author Flannery O’Connor’s
Today Covington has taken on a different role. Known as the “Hollywood of the South,” Covington has become a favorite of the
Andalusia farm and Lockerly Hall, a Greek Revival plantation home that serves as the centerpiece of Lockerly Arboretum.
television and film industry. Scenic locations, the ease of trans-
Traveling from the west and just off I-75 South in Monroe
forming the community into almost any time period and strong local
County sits Forsyth, best known as the set of the movie Fried
support have made Covington a mecca for producers. More than
Green Tomatoes. Just a little further south on I-75 is Macon, a
60 film productions include The Dukes of Hazzard and In the Heat
city with a story to tell.
Get creative at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation in Watkinsville.
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia charms tour groups in Athens.
December 2012 51
on location: south ❖
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: See what’s happening in Georgia next year. For a peek at major 2013 events, visit LeisureGroupTravel.com and enter this numerical code: 32773.
Macon’s historic homes take the spotlight, especially Hay House, a National Historic Landmark. Dubbed “Palace of the South,” it’s considered one of America’s finest antebellum homes. Although Macon escaped the Civil War unscathed, the Greek-Revival Cannonball House did take a direct hit. The restored birthplace of Sidney Lanier, 19th century poet and musician, is open for tours. A variety of three-day/two-night themed itineraries highlight Macon’s rich musical, historic and cultural offerings. Historic downtown Byron is just a short drive south from Macon. The Welcome Center is in a restored 1920s drug store complete with soda fountain. Shopaholics will not want to miss The Big Peach Antiques, 28,000 square Civil War history comes alive at the Cannonball House in Macon.
feet of antiques, collectibles and delectable shopping. At GeorgiaBob’s Cane River Vineyard wine tasting room, your group can try the signature Peach Country Peach. It’s next door to GeorgiaBob’s BBQ. On I-75 south at the Highway 96 exit, you’ll have two wonderful choices and we suggest you choose both. Lane Southern Orchards, which grows peaches, pecans and strawberries, offers tours in season and lunch daily. Cobbler with ice cream is a favorite. On the east side of the interstate is Warner Robins and the Museum of Aviation, a U.S. Air Force museum. Over 100 aircraft and missiles, flight stimulators and exhibits make this one of the largest aviation museums in the U.S. Ask about the city’s youth baseball and you’ll get an earful about their successes in the Little League World Series.
Marvel at military aircraft at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins.
In Fort Valley, discover Massee Lane Gardens, nine acres of beautiful camellias and specialty plantings, including azaleas, roses and day lilies. Perry is a good spot for a hub & spoke to the entire southern portion of the region. Home to the Georgia National Fair and Georgia National Rodeo, the city is known for outstanding shopping and dining. The area’s newest attraction, the Go Fish Education Center, is just pure fun for all ages, with live alligators, exhibits on aquatic wildlife and water pollution, a casting pond and a chance to reel in a trophy fish on an interactive simulator. Consider a visit during the third weekend in April and October for the Mossy Creek Barnyard Festival. A weekend of storytelling, artisans, country cooking and more await you. Georgia’s Historic Heartland, a truly remarkable area, has so many intriguing towns and attractions that it will be
Groups can kick back at the concert venue near Madison’s town square.
52 December 2012
hard to decide what to include in your itinerary. LGT
on location: midwest â?–
DIS C O V ER I N G
Indiana Small towns, hilly landscapes and Ohio River vistas captivate group travelers in the most scenic part of the Hoosier State
Travelers in Aurora (top photos) enjoy touring Hillforest Mansion and exploring the quaint downtown. Savor fresh fudge at McCabeâ€™s Greenhouse and Floral in Lawrenceburg.
or Southern Indiana, refusing to let go of the past has been its greatest resolution. Nestled between the rolling, tree-covered
hills that spill over from Northern Kentucky, many small Hoosier towns have pleasantly stuck to their 19th century roots. With the right mix of history, beauty, modern attractions and entertainment, Southern Indiana keeps groups coming back year after year. Lawrenceburg serves as a logical starting point for a trip down the Ohio River Scenic Byway. Just a half hour west of Cincinnati, the town is home to the 3,000-slot Hollywood Casino and Hotel. The casino offers free gambling credit to groups of 25 or more, and can build custom discount deals in conjunction with
Artist-led walking tours show groups the window murals of downtown Aurora, Indiana.
54 December 2012
other area attractions. LeisureGroupTravel.com
Obtain Indiana visitor guides and itineraries and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info
Groups can feed carrots to the shaggy residents of Mt. Tabor Alpaca Farm in Aurora and tour the 1817 Corydon home of Gov. William A. Hendricks.
Both The Framery and McCabe’s Greenhouse and Floral
patio and lawn. The Great Crescent Brewery offers group tours
give groups opportunities to make crafts. The Framery spe-
of its backroom brewhouse where the brewmaster will explain
cializes in fused glass jewelry making, while McCabe’s can
the beer-making process. The micropub features 15 of its own
teach you how to make an herb garden or a custom wreath.
craft beers, including a minimally hop-infused India Pale Ale.
Lawrenceburg’s sister town of Aurora is one of Dearborn
You can see why Aurora is known as the “City of Spires”
County’s finest. The quaint downtown is brought to life by the
from Hillforest Mansion. Old-fashioned church steeples poke
“windows of Aurora”—64 window murals that peek into what
into the Victorian house-museum’s beautiful view of the river.
life was like in the 1800s. Artist-led walking tours are available
The 1854 estate hosts tea times and dinners served by do-
to groups wishing to learn more about each scene. Stop by City
cents dressed in mid-19th century-style dresses. Groups can
Hall to see a rusty old jail, and don’t miss Second Street’s slew
wander through the parlors, bedrooms, the old wine cellar and
of throwback shops such as Hippie Bob’s and Krypto’s Comix.
circular belvedere—all of which have been restored to look like
Applewood by the River has several different dining rooms
they would have 160 years ago. A little farther up the hillside lies Veraestau, a 150-acre es-
Daniel Morrill Photos
for groups and a great view of the Ohio River from the outdoor
Visitors to Hillforest Mansion, a Victorian house-museum, take in panoramic views of the Ohio River as it flows past Aurora, the “City of Spires.”
December 2012 55
on location: midwest ❖
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Southern Indiana’s Marengo Cave offers a lot of groupfriendly options. Go to LeisureGroupTravel.com and enter this numerical code: 32778.
tate dating back to 1838. The interior of the Greek Revival
Groups enjoy glassblowing demonstrations at Zimmerman Art Glass in Corydon.
house hasn’t been changed since the 1950s, and guests are free to lounge in all of the period furniture. Veraestau is a popular dessert and dinner spot for groups, and has a great view of two river bends from the lawn. Before leaving Dearborn County, many groups enjoy stopping by Mt. Tabor Alpaca Farm. Watch, feed or pet the farm’s 48 alpacas, or enjoy a picnic on any one of the property’s scenic hilltops. Socks, gloves, hats and stuffed animals made from hypoallergenic alpaca wool are popular items that are available for purchase. Sixty miles downriver lies the quiet town of Madison. The riverfront-downtown area features an array of specialty shop-
Clifty Falls State Park isn’t far from Madison’s historic down-
ping options and 19th century buildings, including a tavern
town. The 1,300-acre forest area is known for its four water-
house and railroad station. The town’s crown jewel is Lanier
falls, each of which changes with the seasons. Depending on
Mansion. The Greek Revival house and much of its furniture
what time of year you visit, the cascades can be high-volume
date back to the early 1800s, and the surrounding gardens
crashers, low-volume drippers or completely frozen.
overlook the Ohio River.
Corydon, another hour-and-a-half drive from Madison, features enough history and group-friendly attractions to fill a full day of touring. The small town was Indiana’s first capital and where its constitution was drafted. In the summer of 1816, delegates assembled the document under the shade of a large elm tree since the town’s log cabin structures were too hot. Groups can still see the trunk of the Constitution Elm, located on High Street. At the center of town is Indiana’s First State Capitol. The two-story building has been restored to look like it would have during the eight years before the capital was moved to Indianapolis. Several pieces of the Constitution Elm, plus some original furniture, are on display. Downtown Corydon features eight buildings that date back to 1816, one of which is Governor Hendricks’ Mansion. William A. Hendricks, Indiana’s second governor, lived in the two-story brick home not far from the Capitol. The 1817 mansion has been fully restored and features a few pieces of original furniture. Leora Brown School dates back to 1891, making it one of the oldest former “colored” schools in the state. The building was once known as Gordon Colored School but was renamed to honor Leora Brown, who taught at the school for 26 years. Today, Brown’s niece maintains the schoolhouse and briefs groups on the history of African Americans, the Underground Railroad, and segregation in Corydon and the rest of Southern Indiana. Tours are by appointment only. Groups are pleased to find Zimmerman Art Glass just across the Little Indian Creek south of town. The studio and workshop is run by Kerry Zimmerman, a fourth-generation glass blower.
Marengo Cave is one of Southern Indiana’s top attractions.
56 December 2012
Zimmerman shows groups the process of melting, blowing, LeisureGroupTravel.com
shaping and cooling glass artwork. Specialty plates, bowls and baskets are among the glass merchandise available. A trip to Scout Mountain Winery is a good way to close out a day in Harrison County. The staff can pair wine with a buffet-style dinner for groups, or they can show you how to do the cooking
The making of “Singin’ in the Rain”
yourself through their wine and herbs cooking class. Groups can take home the recipes, and wine tastings are free of charge. Overlook Restaurant in Leavenworth is another great dinner option for groups. The dining room and patio are perfectly perched high above the Ohio River. Enjoy fresh seafood, baby back ribs or fried chicken livers as the sun sets over the river bend.
A half hour northwest of Corydon is Marengo Cave, a U.S. National Landmark. Guided cavern excursions include the 40-minute Crystal Palace tour and hour-long Dripstone Trail tour. Smaller and more daring groups will enjoy the adventure tours, which explore undeveloped sections of cave that involve doing belly crawls and getting wet. Nashville, just an hour south of Indianapolis, can be a convenient place to start or finish a tour of Southern Indiana. The town’s shopping district features over 200 specialty shops, many of which are in converted houses. Nashville offers groups everything from gift shops and old country stores to ice cream parlors and wine tasting rooms. Outside of town, enjoy the beauty of Brown County State Park or take a backwoods tour of the dozens of art studios in the area. Whether it’s shopping, history, natu-
MAKE IT A WINTER TO REMEMBER. artsiunique shops outdoor funihistory museums bridges & barnsiwine tasting
ral beauty, entertainment or a little bit of everything, the southern part of the Hoosier State can be tailored to fit whomever you bring on the bus. Let your group know that they’re going to take a trip back in time, then let Southern Indiana do the rest. LGT LeisureGroupTravel.com
888.524.1914 | JacksonCountyIn.com December 2012 57
❖ dave bodle
Investing in Partnerships DURING 2012 WE’VE touched on
commodations are group-friendly, the
stated, “If you will build itineraries
considerable marketing subject matter
restaurants welcome tours and the
around our ‘Pink Pretzel Days,’ we
in this column. Early in the year we
attractions have excellent programs.
will support your marketing efforts.” A
devoted two issues to technology.
2014 is shaping up to be special for
marketplace with local suppliers was
Later we touched on one of my pet
held the same afternoon and within
peeves— marketplace follow-up or
Gardenville East is planning for the
two weeks itineraries were developed.
lack thereof. We continued with looks
centennial of its famous “Purple Pretzel”
at customer service and FAMs.
and Gardenville West is planning a
“Pink Pretzel Days” tour and listed the
There’s still one more marketing
The advertisements promoted the
celebration of the world-renowned
tour operators’ websites and telephone
topic we need to address in 2012 and
“Pink Pretzel.” Both events are monu-
numbers. The cost of the advertising
hopefully you’ll stay with me. Partner-
mental as each community is the
was paid by a partnership between
ships can be a difficult theme to com-
home to the respective recipe for their
the DMO and the tour operators. The
municate and there really isn’t a right
web link from the online issue went
or wrong path to success, but here’s a
Event plans and marketing strate-
directly to the tour operator’s page
look you may find of interest. The story
gies for each community are well
that featured the tour. Of course, the
I’d like to share is a tale of two mythical
underway. Festival designs are just
technology bells and whistles along
about finalized, entertainment is being
with publicity and direct sales efforts
secured, parades with marching
are also a part of the strategy.
Only 250 miles apart, Gardenville East and Gardenville West are both
bands are organized and the DMOs
great communities to tour. Their ac-
have scheduled the tour & travel
different approaches to promoting a
marketing plan meetings.
significant event for their community.
Two separate DMOs with two
Gardenville East plans to partner
Gardenville East spread the cost
with their suppliers in an effort to pro-
among partner suppliers and is a
mote “Purple Pretzel Days.” Sponsor-
good example of a public/private
ing a function at a large tour operator
partnership. Each individual business
marketplace is the kick-off effort. They
is free to work any operators that
are asking area suppliers to invest in
show interest as a result of their own
• Heritage Clubs International
the function and will feature each of
efforts or leads provided by the DMO.
those suppliers in literature and a
Gardenville West also did a public/
video. After that kick-off event, coop
private partnership working closely
advertisements in (you guessed it!)
with selected tour operators. A much
Destination Features: • Oklahoma • Texas • New Mexico • Missouri • Michigan • Rhode Island • Connecticut • Florida • Virginia • Caribbean/Mexico
Leisure Group Travel magazine will
more targeted approach and very
appear. Again, the DMO is the catalyst,
See our page-flip edition & past issues at
Looking Ahead to FEBRUARY
• • •
Special Section Native American Attractions Religious Travel Trends Shopping
LeisureGroupTravel.com We can help showcase your business to groups. Call us 630.794.0696 or firstname.lastname@example.org
but individual suppliers will pay for their own presence. Gardenville West is taking a different
“real” events, both strategies could very well be effective. Public/private
approach to its tour & travel marketing
partnerships work, and regardless of
efforts for “Pink Pretzel Days.” At the
how developed, if properly planned
first DMO marketing planning meeting
and executed, they will be successful
they invited a small group of non-com-
for all involved.
petitive tour operators. They had a history with this group of operators and knew them well. The DMO simply
58 December 2012
Both strategies have merit and with
Contact Dave at 843-997-2880 or email email@example.com.
V i s i t L a k e C o u n t y. o r g
to Chic, Charming, Chocolate-y fun! You have always talked about planning a trip just for the girls. Why not make this the year you plan a girlfriends getaway tour to Lake County – just north of Chicago? Your group can explore antique stores and charming downtowns, indulge in sweet confections, delicious local wines, a two-level relaxing spa and, of course, shopping. And don’t forget the exciting nightlife. Head to Ravinia Festival, Viper Alley, Marriott Theatre or the Genesee Theatre – all right nearby. Create the perfect itinerary – Chic, Charming & Chocolate, or Brushes, Burgers & Broadway. For more ideas, contact our group tour specialist, Jayne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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