Page 1


A Premier Tourism Marketing publication

Because the only thing better than telling old stories is creating new ones.

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Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ!+)!ĆŤ*ĆŤ.0%/0ĆŤ"+.ĆŤ0$!ĆŤ 5ĆŤ0 0$!ĆŤColumbus Museum of Art. Rachel Trinkley, 614-629-5942,

đƍƍ$+,ƍ0ƍ$1* .! /ƍ+"ƍ/,!%(05ƍ/0+.!/ƍ 0ƍEaston Town Centerċƍ Bethany Braden, 614-750-0616,

đƍƍ2+.ƍ0$!ƍ0/0!/ƍ+"ƍ+( ƍ .!(* ƍ%*ƍDublinċƍ Mary Szymkowiak, 614-792-7666,

đƍƍ0ƍ.!'"/0ƍ3%0$ƍ0$!ƍ*%)(/ƍ0ƍ 0$!ƍColumbus Zoo and Aquariumċƍ Roger Dudley, 614-645-3550,

Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ$+,ĆŤ0ĆŤÄ Ä€Ä€ĆŤ*)!ÄĄ.* ĆŤ/0+.!/ĆŤ 0ĆŤTanger OutletsÄ‹ĆŤ Lisa Chapman, 740-948-9090,

Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ$((!*#!ĆŤ5+1.ĆŤ%**!.ĆŤ!4,(+.!.ĆŤ0ĆŤCOSIÄ‹ĆŤ Susan Peters, 614-228-2674 ext. 2542,

WHERE TO REST YOUR HEAD đƍƍ$100(!ƍ0+ƍ/0+*ƍ+3*ƍ!*0!.ƍ".+)ƍ Embassy Suites Hotel Airportċƍ Jessica Beckner, 614-536-0210,

Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ '!ĆŤEastern Ohio ToursĆŤ5+1.ĆŤ .!/+1.!ĆŤ"+.ĆŤ%*0!.0%2!ĆŤ0+1./Ä‹ĆŤ Dixie Wyler, 740-754-1833,

đƍƍ2!.*%#$0ƍ%*ƍ0$!ƍ$%,ƍ$+.0ƍ+.0$ƍ .0/ƍ%/0.%0ƍ0ƍHampton Inn & Suites Downtown Columbusċƍ Leah Bristol, 614-559-2000, www.columbusdowntownsuites. đƍƍ4,(+.!ƍ$!ƍ$%+ƍ00!ƍ*%2!./%05ƍ* ƍ +3*0+3*ƍ0ƍHilton Garden Inn– OSUċƍMaggie Mungai, 614-263-7200,

Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ2+.ĆŤ$!.ÄĄ%*"1/! ĆŤ"++ /ĆŤ%*ĆŤGahannaÄŒĆŤ '*+3*ĆŤ/ĆŤ0$!ĆŤ!.ĆŤ,%0(ĆŤ+"ĆŤ$%+Ä‹ Shannon Cannon, 614-418-9114, Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ*&+5ĆŤĆŤ$.)%*#ĆŤ/)((ĆŤ0+3*ĆŤ"!!(ĆŤ %*ĆŤGrandviewÄŒĆŤ3%0$ĆŤ%* !,!* !*0ĆŤ /$+,,%*#ÄŒĆŤ.0ĆŤ#((!.%!/ĆŤ* ĆŤ1,/(!ĆŤ %*%*#Ä‹ Michelle Wilson, 614-486-0196,

đƍƍ(+3ƍƍ#(//ƍ+.*)!*0ƍ%*ƍLicking CountyċƍRon Bower, 740-345-8224,

Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ+1.ĆŤ5+1.ĆŤ+3*ĆŤ1/0+)ÄĄ/!*0! ĆŤ * (!ÄŒĆŤ0$!*ĆŤ/!(!0ĆŤ5+1.ĆŤ"2+.%0!ĆŤ 3%*!ĆŤ%*ĆŤWorthington.ĆŤ Mindy Mace, 614-841-2545,

Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ05ĆŤ +3*0+3*ĆŤ0ĆŤHoliday Inn

Columbus Downtown Capitol Square. Grant Bain, 614-221-3281, Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ%#1.!ĆŤ+10ĆŤÄ—3$+ 1*%0Ä˜ĆŤ 1.%*#ĆŤ+.%#%*(ĆŤ %*0!.0%2!ĆŤ %**!.ĆŤ0$!0!.ĆŤ/$+3/ĆŤ%*ĆŤ Ohio History CenterÄ‹ĆŤ Mark Holbrook, 614-297-3219, Ä‘ĆŤĆŤ!ĆŤ(+/!ĆŤ0+ĆŤ0$!ĆŤ%.,+.0ĆŤ* ĆŤ/0+*ĆŤ0ĆŤ0$!ĆŤ

Courtyard by Marriott-Columbus Airport. Stephanie Lovell, 614-475-6807, đƍƍ2!.*%#$0ƍ(+/!ƍ0+ƍ +3*0+3*ƍ 0ƍUniversity Plaza Hotel & Conference Centerċƍ Kara Krispinsky, 614-456-1154,

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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


International tourists are coming back to America, an encouraging trend for the nation’s economy


10 12

Reader’s Choice Awards


Student Travelers Build Global Resumes

Big-time rodeos highlight South Dakota’s events calendar.

10 Easy Ways Toward Sustainable Travel



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


Nebraska Celebrates the Lincoln Highway Arizona Potpourri


What’s New in the Smokies Baltimore Buzz



Virginia Beach Tour Salutes Our Troops BY DAVE BODLE

50 54

Georgia’s Historic Heartland


Discovering Southern Indiana




On My Mind





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




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 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 or search our name on the iTunes store!

620,961 Population of Baltimore



Miles between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

f you’re currently involved in, or seeking to enter the faith, student, reunions, sports or ski markets, check out our InSite niche market e-newsletters. Each publication covers trends, helpful advice and destinations that are making an impact in these respective markets. Sign up directly on the website!



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

Publisher – Jeffrey Gayduk

Managing Editor – Randy Mink 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

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

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

year when the effort required has actually gone significantly up. Make sense?

Mid Atlantic – Ellen Klesta P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652

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

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

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 Florida & Caribbean – Evelyn Stetler P 321.235.6002 • F 321.235.6094 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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On Tour

❖ 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

the trip.

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-

the U.S.

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 (

good coach driver can make or break

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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 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.



VIA Rail Canada • Platinum Rocky Mountaineer • Gold Alaska Railroad • Bronze

Italy • Platinum Ireland • Gold Switzerland • Bronze



Smithsonian • Platinum Metropolitan Museum of Art • Gold Field Museum • Bronze

Collette Vacations • Platinum Globus Family of Brands • Gold Mayflower Tours • Bronze



New York • Platinum Las Vegas • Gold Orlando • Bronze

Princess • Platinum Celebrity • Gold Royal Caribbean • Bronze



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




'ĞƚŵŽƌĞŝŶĨŽƌŵĂƟŽŶĂƚ ŽƌĐĂůů1-800-872-1259

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

7 8

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

nation again.

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 “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

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 ‘

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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-


partment of Homeland Security have been working to streamline the process to acquire travel visas.

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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.

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you can never see everything in just one trip. LGT (Inbound tourism statistics courtesy of Business Monitor International, 1-800-537-7737

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

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. | (800) 223-3557

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. ( LGT

December 2012 21

on student travel â?–

lance harrell

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-

by 2020.

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

them successfully?

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

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 “gamifica-

selves constantly and maintain a strong social and mobile

tion,� 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

this characteristic.

expanding consumer bases in the world. LGT

December 2012 23

on student travel ❖



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., 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 24 December 2012


Vestiges of cowboy culture and Indian heritage captivate groups touring the hills and plains of

South Dakota

South Dakota


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

in 1990.)

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

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 ❖

Nebraska Celebrates

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 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

nocturnal exhibit, and America’s largest indoor rainforest.

sources/itinerary. For more about the Centennial Celebration, go to

Obtain Nebraska visitor guides and itineraries and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly at

For other information about group tours in Nebraska, visit LGT

36 December 2012


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




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 ❖

sue arko


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 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

food vendors offer a wide variety of offerings. LGT December 2012 39

on location: south ❖

melinda hughey

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

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 ❖

ashley braun



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 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

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 For planning materials and assistance, contact the Group Tour & Travel Coordinator at 800-626-2326 or

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 ❖

dave bodle

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

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&#x20AC;&#x153;This is so good. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just different than anything weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done.â&#x20AC;? 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.

Discover one of New Englandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite group travel attractions! Explore a wonderland of fun ... visit with Santa â&#x20AC;Ś catch snowflakes year â&#x20AC;&#x2122;round â&#x20AC;Ś stroll through our authentic Bavarian Christmas Village â&#x20AC;Ś satisfy every food craving with lunch or dinner at our award-winning Restaurant or the sweet taste of our famous fudge. Contact our us today to learn more at


In the lead-off event, a Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons tribute featured hits from the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;60s.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The air show is a huge hit,â&#x20AC;? Cline said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;No tour company could do this on their own. It took a partnership.â&#x20AC;? 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&#x20AC;&#x2122;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&#x20AC;&#x2122;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&#x20AC;&#x2122; 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

of the military and Hopeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trademark Thanks for the Memories, there was hardly a dry eye in the room. The 2013 Virginia Beach USO tour, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thanks for the Memories,â&#x20AC;? is scheduled for Oct. 22-25. For details, visit


beach-uso-show-2013. LGT

December 2012 47

on location: south ❖


dave bodle

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



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

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

Eastern Confederacy.

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 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?&#x2013;

daniel morrill



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&#x20AC;&#x2122;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.

Obtain Indiana visitor guides and itineraries and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly at

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 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,

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.

The Musical

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

888.524.1914 | December 2012 57

On Marketing

❖ 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

both cities.

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

prized pretzel.

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 We can help showcase your business to groups. Call us 630.794.0696 or

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

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


LUXURY Indulge in the luxury & entertainment of Tulalip. Unrivaled amenities, impeccable service, award-winning dining and the most excitement in Washington State are all part of your unforgettable four-diamond experience.

R E S E R VAT I O N S : 8 6 6 . 716 . 716 2 T U L A L I P R E S O R T. C O M

Leisure Group Travel Magazine Dec 2012  

Leisure Group Travel Magazine Dec 2012 Edition

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