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2011 EDITION

A Premier Tourism Marketing publication www.ReligiousTravelDirectory.com


Randy Mink

a leap of faith eligious tour groups are traveling everywhere these days—for spiritual nourishment, for educational purposes and just for fun. Congregation members enjoy each other’s fellowship on one-day field trips, overnight retreats, multi-day tours and even mega-ships cruising the Caribbean or Mediterranean. With the growth in faith-based travel, it’s not surprising that this market has become an $18-billion industry. More travel planners than ever are working with churches and other groups to develop programs with a spiritual dimension.

R

LET THE RELIGIOUS TRAVEL PLANNING GUIDE AND OUR ONLINE RESOURCES EASE THE WAY FOR YOUR NEXT GROUP TRIP, FOREIGN OR DOMESTIC Whether you’re in the midst of organizing a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Holy Land or an outing to a local shrine—or merely contemplating the very formation of a travel ministry—this inaugural issue of the Religious Travel Planning Guide will be a trusted companion. Full of practical tips for charting your course, the guide is a valuable research tool for anyone forming tour groups from churches, synagogues and other religious organizations. The idea of religious group travel certainly makes sense. We often associate faith-based trips with pilgrimages to particular churches and shrines—and cer4

Religious Travel Planning Guide

tainly those destinations are important. But much of the journey revolves around being with like-minded folks in leisurely surroundings, spending vacation time with people whose values we share. We could not have done this guide without the expertise of Cindi Brodhecker, a friend, consultant and writer. A travel industry pro with more than 15 years’ experience in group and religious travel, she is president of Faith Travel Development & Consulting and serves on the advisory board of the first Faith Travel Conference and Expo, which will take place May 19-20 in Atlanta. We have two products that complement the Religious Travel Planning Guide. ReligiousTravelDirectory.com is the leading directory resource for the religious travel market today. With listings and links to group-friendly destinations and businesses, it’s designed to be the premier research tool for the market. This one-of-a-kind website posts travel news, tour offerings and features on U.S. cities and foreign countries of interest to religious group organizers. Additionally, InSite on Religious Travel is a monthly e-newsletter that takes its cue from our company’s popular InSite on Leisure Group Travel e-newsletter, with regular doses of ideas, inspiration and destination reports. We hope this new planning guide, combined with our online resources, will help you plan a trip to remember. Happy traveling,

Vol. 1, No. 1, 2011 Edition

Editorial Office

621 Plainfield Road, Suite 406 Willowbrook, IL 60527 P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 info@ptmgroups.com

Publisher – Jeffrey Gayduk jeff@ptmgroups.com

Managing Editor – Randy Mink randy@ptmgroups.com

Project Consultant/Writer Cindi Brodhecker

Director, Design & Production – Robert Wyszkowski rob@ptmgroups.com

Advertising Sales Office Phone: 630.794.0696 advertising@ptmgroups.com www.ptmgroups.com

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 or manuscripts. Religious Travel Planning Guide is published annually by Premier Tourism Marketing, Inc., 621 Plainfield Rd., Suite 406, Willowbrook, IL 60527. Postage paid at Willowbrook, IL and Lebanon Junction, KY. The magazine is distributed free to religious group travel organizers and travel suppliers catering to the market. Single copies for all others is $9.95.

Send Address Change to: Premier Tourism Marketing, Inc. P.O. Box 609, Palos Heights, IL 60463

A

publication

All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced in any form without written permission of the publisher.

Randy Mink Managing Editor religioustraveldirectory.com


contents CHOOSING THE RIGHT TRAVEL PROVIDER

Vol. 1, No. 1 2011 EDITION

6

Your Faith-Based Tour

8

Choosing the Right Travel Provider

12 Hotels & Meals 16 Trip-Planning Timeline

8

24 Choosing Travel Insurance 26 Etiquette and Attitude 27 On the Road—and Back Home

ON THE ROAD — AND BACK HOME

28 Directory Resources ETIQUETTE & ATTITUDE

27 26

ON THE COVER:  st. patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, Northern ireland. (photo courtesy of tOurism ireLAND/tourismirelandimagery.com) Article images courtesy of © 2011 JupiterimAges Corporation

religioustraveldirectory.com 3 Religious Travel Planning Guide

Religious Travel Planning Guide religioustraveldirectory.com

5


Your Faith-Based Tour

W

hy travel with a church group when there are so many companies that offer tours to any place in the world, from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica? To answer that question we must look at the purpose and objective of your trip. The purposes of church travel programs are as varied as the types of cookies in a bakery. Let’s look at some major reasons to travel together: Spiritual enrichment. Your group may do a pilgrimage, traveling to destinations that are important to your faith. Israel is visited by more religious groups than any other country. How you visit Israel will be your decision. Your faith will always be an important factor in a visit to Israel, but did you know that Tel Aviv is one of the top 10 beach cities in the world, according to National Geographic? How you plan your Israel visit will be based on such questions as: Do you want to visit Old Testament biblical sites, New

INVITING NON-MEMBERS TO TRAVEL WITH YOU IS A GREAT OUTREACH AND COULD ADD TO YOUR CHURCH MEMBERSHIP. Testament sites, Palestinian areas, Jewish areas, Christian communities? Do you want to interact with people of different faiths or visit congregations sharing your beliefs? Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan are also important in the Old and New testaments. Europe is the birthplace of many denominations of today. A tour of Ger6

Religious Travel Planning Guide

many, France, Switzerland and Austria could focus on Reformation history, Anabaptist roots or Huguenot founders. Touring the United Kingdom will give you the foundations of Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Episcopal denominations. Italy, Spain, France and Ireland have many important Catholic churches. Many domestic areas can also offer spiritual experiences—at retreats, churches, shrines and museums, for instance. Build community. Planning tours to enhance the relations of your members is another part of faith-based travel programs. Reaching out to inactive members by inviting them to join you on a day trip, multi-day tour, international trip or cruise is a way to make them feel like a part of the group in a different and relaxed setting. Inviting non-members is great outreach to the community in general, and a positive travel experience can add to your church membership. Traveling with non-members can also widen your church’s cultural or ethnic boundaries. Raise funds. Travel is a great tool in bringing together people who have been local supporters or introducing possible

new contributors to your needs. Fundraising can benefit local membership projects, international causes and humanitarian requests in ways an individual could not impact alone. Here is one example of fundraising through travel: A local congregation needed a new educational room. They planned a “Footsteps of Paul” tour in Greece and Turkey with an added donation to the tour price for a building project. They built a new St. Paul teaching wing that gave meaning to all those who traveled, experienced the sites first hand and came back passionate to provide this facility for their congregation. Making it real and personal is always a driving force in writing the check. Another way to give supporters the opportunity to catch the vision is having the senior pastor or priest, college president or head of the organization lead the tour. This allows people more one-on-one time where the future of the church or organization can be shared and travelers become an important part of that vision with their donations. There is a proven increase in giving after trips such as this.U religioustraveldirectory.com


you should know

Why Form a Travel Ministry? Here are a few points to encourage your religious organization to create or expand its travel ministry: • Build a stronger bond between active members who may not interact on a regular basis due to age, marital status, committee involvement or focus. • Bring together the generations, away from the confines of the church pews and age-related classes, worship times or interests, to join together on a motorcoach, train, plane or ship. • Set up a travel fund that can be used for members who want to travel but cannot do so financially—singles, widows, seniors, etc. • Support missions or missionary families and organizations by traveling to their part of the world and participating in projects that will encourage the missionaries, help others and give you a great feeling of fulfillment. • Volunteer hands-on projects could be as simple as pulling weeds in gardens to building schools, health clinics or churches. • Planning and facilitating retreats for missionaries would include child care, teaching, fun and relaxation. Allow them to take a break and refresh their body and soul.

religioustraveldirectory.com

Religious Travel Planning Guide

7


Choosing the Right Travel Provider

N

othing is more important when starting your faith travel journey than selecting the right tour provider. The right tour operator will make your group’s dream a reality, ensuring that plans flow smoothly and provide peace of mind, a support network and industry expertise you do not have. Having your travelers ready to sign up for the next trip before they unpack their suitcases is the goal of your tour partner and your organization. But with so much competition in the market, choosing the right tour operator partner is no easy choice.

you should know

Create a checklist that includes the following criteria: •

Does the tour operator understand the importance of this type of travel – are they responsive to your group’s needs

• Are they knowledgeable about your church, denomination and priorities

Can they arrange special services, allowing for daily devotions in itinerary if requested

• Do they have references from similar types of groups they have worked with

• Are they willing to be creative in itinerary planning • Are they timely in replying to email and phone calls

• Do they participate in any consumer protection programs like that offered by the United States Tour Operators Association Depending on the type of trip you are offering (see page 6), a tour operator that specializes in your destination, denomination or unique program is the key to a suc8

Religious Travel Planning Guide

cessful trip. Some tour companies have great strength in the Catholic market and others may have strong ties to the Methodist, Lutheran or Baptist community. Some operators specialize in missionary-purpose travel, while others are more adept at travel ministry trips. Setting a budget in advance is most important, as operator quotes will vary based on trip inclusions – admissions, meals, hotel quality etc., so it will be necessary to compare competitive quotes apples-to-apples. You should have an idea of what your travelers can afford, and the price of your trip needs to be reflective of this. Give tour operators a wish list of what you want to see and do, and let them know you are seeking alternate quotes. All tour operator pricing needs to clearly indicate

YOU WILL NEED TO COMPARE TOUR OPERATORS’ PRICE QUOTES APPLES-TO-APPLES

what is and what is not included. Get it in writing! Once you select your chosen tour operator, communication with your tour operator partner should cover all areas of budget and pricing in advance of setting a final selling price of your program. If you do not plan for special gifts, events and donations in the beginning, they will not happen, or if they do they will come out of your pocket (not desirable). When budgeting, look for ways to enhance the tour by adding a music or drama performance. Imagine seeing an actor portray St. Paul at Mars Hill in Athens or an actress play Mary, Mother of Jesus, at the Garden Tomb. Arranging private concerts will give your travelers something to talk about for months after they return. When pricing out trips, tour operators will always include a complimentary or reduced rate trip for a member of the congregation. This is often negotiable and can vary greatly in your final tour price. For example, compare tour operator A, who is offering one complimentary (comp) reservation per 10 paying passengers, versus religioustraveldirectory.com


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Choosing the Right Travel Provider

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tour operator B, who offers one per group. If you are able to sell 40 slots on a trip, you would qualify for four complimentary reservations with operator A, but only one with operator B. You can use these comp trips as a fundraiser, to reduce the cost of the trip for other passengers, for your church leader(s) or to reward a deserving member of the congregation. Decide who should benefit from a complimentary or reduced-rate trip if you qualify—it might be the leader and spouse, missionary family, widows or choir directors. Also determine who will be the person in charge of organizing the group. Will the senior pastor be your contact person or will the church office staff handle the phone calls and email questions? Should you enlist a volunteer from the church to be the point person and have them report back to you?

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Religious Travel Planning Guide

AND WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED.

GET IT IN WRITING! As the price is finalized, you will need to decide if all gratuities are included. Or will travelers pay guides, drivers, dining room staff, housekeeping and bellmen as they go? On cruises, shore excursions are never included in the base price, so determine if you want to organize these in advance or let people make their plans on the ship. In some destinations where faith-site visits are important, you probably want to arrange private shore excursions through the cruise line or an independent tour operator. U religioustraveldirectory.com


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HOTELS & MEALS

M

ost travel groups would not require kitchenettes or large suites, but your travelers may want to have a coffee pot or hot pot every day. This could be one of many factors in choosing a hotel, your “home away from home.” Consider the types of accommodations available—3-, 4- and 5-star hotels— and know what that means for your group, and for your travel budget. Hotels in foreign countries are categorized under a different type of rating system than in the U.S. Properties in the 2-star category would not usually be recommended, and in some countries 3-star hotels are not up to estab-

you should know

Tips on meal-related issues to decide in advance:

• What meals will be included in

the tour price?

Will breakfast be continental or full?

• Will lunch be on your own or with

the group? Lunch on-own is generally preferred, unless it’s a special occasion.

• Will dinner be served plated or

buffet-style? What about meal choices or a la carte?

• Large groups can cause logistical

challenges with some restaurants, especially if meal choices are involved.

• Ask in advance if any tour mem-

bers have dietary restrictions so they can be accommodated.

• In line with the dietary standards

of your faith, be sure restaurants know your preferences regarding meats to be served. Will wine or other alcoholic beverages be served? If so, limits must be set.

12

Religious Travel Planning Guide

lished standards with American groups. Also understand that international hotels typically have smaller rooms that are not comfortable for three or four to a room. Many beds are twin, but if a double or queen bed is a must, be sure to designate this in preparing your rooming list. Location is important if you have free time for evening strolls or shopping within walking distance. City-center hotels may be worth the extra dollars in the tour price if many of your activities are nearby – if not, save the money by locating just outside the city. You will find a better quality property at a lower rate. Perhaps your group will want to stay in a monastery or mission guest house? This can be an exciting element to your trip, but be sure you understand that such accommodations differ from standard hotels, so your travelers should be made aware of any differences they will encounter. For example, some have quiet hours in the early evening. Others have minimal meal service. Do your guests have to handle their own luggage because there’s no bell-

man, and walk up flights of steps to get to and from their rooms? Have a bullet point list of questions before considering any alternate lodging - advance planning can make this a very meaningful experience and ensure no surprises on arrival.

Handling Meal Arrangements Food is always an important part of the travel experience, and the ability to dine like a local will help your travelers

DECIDE IF THE TOUR PRICE WILL INCLUDE TIPS FOR THE HOTEL’S HOUSEKEEPING, DINING ROOM AND BELL STAFF religioustraveldirectory.com


HOTELS & MEALS

you should know

Here are some ideas to “spice up” your culinary experience:

Sharing meals with fellow denominational members or mission staff members is a wonderful experience but must be arranged in advance. Cultural experiences (music, dancing) during meals can make an ordinary meal a special event. Take the opportunity to experience local foods, especially desserts. Include performers or lecturers to join your group and enhance the experience.

• •

immerse themselves into the trip. Good food and good health is your goal. Having an understanding of the type of cuisine native to that destination will allow your group to better experience the local flavors without suffering gastronomical consequences. For example, certain spices might not agree with the American palate, not to mention what’s considered a delegacy in some regions would not ever make it on the plate of an American traveler. Aside from being able to drink the water, many countries do not have the food service standards we do and even

washed fruit and vegetables can be a problem. Research this and inform the group in advance of do’s and don’ts to ensure healthy travels. U


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Trip-Planning Timeline

O

nce the travel seed has been planted, there will be an extended period of activity involving deadlines and questions from both booked travelers and prospective joiners. Be prepared for questions such as: Does the hotel have Internet access? Can three people share a room? What about my connecting flight? What time is the midnight buffet? Your groups should have a main contact person responsible for fielding inquiries from travelers and keeping them in the loop. He or she will have all the necessary information on travel logistics and should have easy access to the assigned staff member in the tour operator’s office. The pastor/clergyman or group leader does not have to be the main contact but should attend pre-trip meetings and share the spiritual goal of the trip. They need to make sure that travelers receive such materials as a reading list or study notes. The trip-planning timeline will be different for every group, but keep these time frames in mind:

18-24 Months Prior to Travel • Discuss the purpose of the trip—will it be strictly for fellowship or will there be a spiritual or fundraising element as well? • Take an informal poll of group members and list places you want to visit. • Get travel information from a travel agent or tour operator and ask about the time frame required for planning a trip to your destinations of interest. • Determine whether you have church affiliations to partner with or a missionary in the destinations. 16

Religious Travel Planning Guide

you should know

12 Months Prior to Travel Make a final decision on the type of travel you will offer: • Pilgrimage • Volunteer/mission • Spiritual refreshment • Fellowship and fun Will the tour include a fundraising donation? • Choose a destination and date. For best pricing, travel during low or shoulder season rather than peak periods. • Finalize the itinerary, which may include visits to church missionaries, special church visits, church history sites or former members who live out of the area. • Once you have selected the tour operator/provider, start the brochure process and lend your own touch to material the travel company offers. Include biographical information on the spiritual or group leader and any wow factors you want to add. • Due to airline schedules and rates, final pricing may not be available until 11 months prior. Cruise lines and motorcoach companies also work 11-12 months in advance. Most airlines will hold group space 11 months prior to travel at a con-

firmed price, but taxes and fuel surcharges would still be subject to change. • Select travel insurance, which can be included in the tour price or an option. Review the Travel Insurance section in this publication before purchasing tour operator coverage. • Start promoting the tour through organization newsletters and websites, postcards, press releases to local newspapers, church bulletins, themed dinners, coffees and teas, and social network sites. • Plan informational meetings with short lectures and sharing of firsthand experiences. If you have visited the area, bring pictures, books and souvenirs. • Take advantage of any familiarization tours or preview trips offered to the destination by the tour operator. religioustraveldirectory.com


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Trip-Planning Timeline

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6 Months Prior to Travel • Early followers should be signed up with deposits paid. • If a passport or visa is required, now is the time to apply. • Contact people who have shown interest but still have not committed. • Do an additional newsletter posting and press release. • Encourage folks who have signed up to invite friends or family. • Stay in touch with contacts in your travel destination so they can prepare for your group’s arrival.

YOUR GROUPS SHOULD HAVE A MAIN CONTACT PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR FIELDING INQUIRIES FROM TRAVELERS AND KEEPING THEM IN THE LOOP

3 Months Prior to Travel • Do a last big promotional push to get interested people to commit. • Airline and cruise final payment deadlines are looming, so communication with your travelers who have paid deposits starts now. • Check all cancellation dates to be sure deposits are still refundable at 90 days should the need arise. • Continue promoting your trip in bul18

Religious Travel Planning Guide

letins, newsletters and meetings – keeping interest alive in those who have signed up and filling those last few seats. • Arrange transportation to and from the airport if your travel company is not handling it. religioustraveldirectory.com


Mediterranean panorama of Lake Lugano

Switzerland’s Heritage. Switzerland’s diversity is seen not only in its beautiful scenery but also in the four national languages, its people and different cultures. Easy to explore on one of the best public transport networks in the world. Ticino Travelers can admire the mediterranan panorama of Lake Lugano from the church of Santa Maria del Sasso in Morcote. Visit the historic center of Bellinzona, take part at the traditional Easter procession in Mendrisio and enjoy the gastronomy of the Ticino under palm trees. Lucerne and Lake Lucerne Region Lucerne enjoys the distinction of being the only Swiss town that began as a monastery. Switzerland’s only born saint “Brother Klaus” family house and chapel of the 15th century can be visited near Lucerne. The black Madonna in the Abbey of Einsiedeln marks as the most visited pilgrimage site in Switzerland. Zürich Zürich made its most significant mark on Christian History in the early 16th century.

Here, Huldrych Zwingli was the father of the Swiss Reformation. The St.Peters Church was a landmark in Swiss Reformation History and the Anabaptist caves outside of Zürich are a reminder of the Anabaptist believers in the area. Swiss Travel System: all-in-one ticket Swiss Travel System turns any journey into an unforgettable experience. Whether you‘re travelling by train, boat or post bus, a glance at the surrounding countryside is enough to capture the cultural wealth and geographical variety of this country. Your ticket for the Swiss Travel System: The Swiss Pass. It offers free travel on this transportation system which is unique in the world. The highlight of any Swiss trip is a ride along one of the many scenic routes. Enjoy Switzerland‘s natural beauty from a boat deck or drink in the breathtaking vistas from a yellow postal bus.

For information please visit MySwitzerland.com/heritage. For bookings please call Reformation Tours at 1-800-303-5534.


Trip-Planning Timeline

you should know

30 Days Prior to Travel • Work with the travel company to prepare final travel document packets, which might include a suggested packing guide and study guides for tour visits. • Once document packets are in order, host a pre-departure meeting to pass out documents and prepare your travelers for the journey ahead. • Travelers should be made aware of any donations that may be needed on visits to churches or missions. • Plan a final fellowship meeting that will create a bond among travelers, confirm trip details and gather any last information you need. • Suggest any necessary physical preparation, such as walking on a regular basis. • Suggest proper dress for religious shrines, monasteries or churches. Dress codes may call for head coverings or no shorts or sleeveless tops. • Finalize contacts and timetables for partners in the destination where you may be holding special meet and greets, meal functions or worship. • Plan group meals to introduce foods of the destination. 20

Religious Travel Planning Guide

BE PREPARED FOR QUESTIONS SUCH AS:

DOES THE HOTEL HAVE INTERNET ACCESS? CAN THREE PEOPLE SHARE A ROOM?

WHAT ABOUT

MY CONNECTING FLIGHT? religioustraveldirectory.com


Why Your Church Group Travelers Need Travel Insurance

P

eople often assume their medical insurance provides them with adequate coverage when they’re traveling. That assumption is often wrong, and that mistake can cost your congregation members a lot of money and unnecessary headaches.

you should know

Independently Purchased Travel Insurance Policies Should Cover:

• Medical costs for seeing a doctor out of the HMO or PPO network.

• Out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance.

• Medical expenses incurred in a foreign country.

• The full cost of an emergency medical evacuation, especially from abroad.

• The cost of the trip itself (airfare, tour costs, hotel, gratuities, etc.).

• The bankruptcy of an airline, tour operator or cruise line. Cancellation protection is the backbone of all travel insurance plans. A health insurance policy will not reimburse the cost of the trip if the traveler has to cancel. Without travel insurance, they could lose part or all of the amount paid for the trip. If the traveler has started the trip and then must cancel the rest of it, say, if there’s a medical crisis or death at home involving a family member, or if the traveler suffers an accident or illness during the trip, he/she loses whatever they’ve invested in the balance of the trip and must pay out of their own pocket to return home – generally a lot of money because the travel arrangements are made at the last minute. 24

Religious Travel Planning Guide

Also, know that two invaluable insurance benefits your group travelers need are typically not found in the plans offered by tour operators or cruise lines: financial insolvency protection if the supplier goes under and a benefit that pays cash to the travelers if they cancel their trip for any reason. How can you provide these insurance benefits? We recommend that church group travel planners provide all their travelers with group travel insurance that includes all of the benefits listed above. You should arrange for the travel insurance. How? By using a group travel insurance plan tailored especially for group organizers, instead of the plans offered by the tour operator or cruise line. Our Travel Protector is one such plan. Our Travel Protector is available for all subscribers to the free InSite on Religious Travel e-newsletter. Go to www.OurTravelProtector.com to read full subscription details and learn more about this unique insurance plan. By using a plan like Our Travel Protector, you will have net rate which you could mark up or not mark up, as you wish, rather than receive the usual 10% commission from the tour operator’s or cruise line’s travel insurance plan. As you may know,

total commission received by cruise lines and tour operators from selling insurance policies is generally 30% or more. With a plan like Our Travel Protector, you could mark up the travel insurance rate to provide an additional source of revenue or fundraising. Or, you could provide the insurance to your travelers without any mark-up and advise the traveler of the cost-benefit savings you have provided. Arranging the insurance yourself gives your travelers the benefits they can’t get from a tour operator’s or cruise line’s plan, and it gives you maximum flexibility to control the price of the insurance and your earnings. U

TRAVEL INSURANCE PROTECTS TRAVELERS WHO MUST CANCEL THE TRIP BEFORE DEPARTURE AND PAYS TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR THOSE WHO MUST INTERRUPT THEIR TRIP TO RETURN HOME

religioustraveldirectory.com


Etiquette and Attitude

U

nderstanding other cultures and forms of worship will broaden your horizons and bring the world one step closer to peace, so prepare your travelers for what they can expect while traveling with your group. Learning respect for other nationalities and religions and their extending respect for you is the most valuable souvenir you will bring back. This applies not only to international travel, but to our own USA and its diverse geographic regions.

you should know

Timely Tips on Etiquette and Attitude: • As you meet people of other regions, provide gifts or donations when appropriate.

Provide a reading list of books or articles that help everyone understand the cultures and worship practices that you may encounter.

opportunity to share my beliefs with him, something I do with all guides in other countries. It is an exchange of information that leads to understanding—never a point of converting anyone. On the Sunday of our tour we had a worship service led by one of our travelers. Our guide stayed with us the entire service, listening and showing great respect. After the service as we walked down the street of a small Turkish village, I thanked him

REMIND TRAVELERS THEY ARE LEAVING HOME TO SEE, TOUCH AND TASTE ANOTHER Prior to departure, discuss what your group will experience and prepare for a positive approach to worship, food and customs in other cultures. Joining in worship with other faiths and being open to hearing about other faiths is an educational experience for both sides. Sharing a personal experience from a trip to Turkey, we were a group of travel leaders on an educational study trip with a guide who was Muslim. I asked him to share with me his beliefs and then had the 26

Religious Travel Planning Guide

PART OF THE WORLD AND TO BE OPEN TO LOCAL CUSTOMS

for being with us in worship. He linked his arm in mine and said, “We all worship the same God.” That was several years ago, and to this day we are friends and exchange greetings regularly. As you meet with people from other regions, provide gifts or donations when appropriate. This can be part of your pricing or you can have individuals handle this—give them proper notice so they are ready with the correct currency and denominations in bills or coins. Do some research and be prepared for what is appropriate in each situation, showing respect for local traditions. Take along things from your hometown as a way of sharing who you are and where you are from. Within your travel group, it is important to stick to the pre-assigned schedule. This requires multiple announcements of arrival and departure times, especially if they deviate from the itinerary. Discuss with your tour leader about what roles will be assigned during the trip. Who will be in front of the bus, who will be the liaison with guides and travelers and who will be the spiritual leader? Knowing everyone’s duties in advance of a busy trip will ensure smooth sailing, regardless of the weather. U religioustraveldirectory.com


On the Road —and Back Home

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ll the planning, promotion and even the packing are finished, and now you are on the road. The following will be important in your daily travel schedule: Staying on time and stressing to all travelers that being on time gives them more shopping opportunities, time to see additional museum exhibits, people watch in a corner cafe, and perhaps time to sleep in! Keeping the spiritual emphasis as part of each day and allowing time for devotions and reflections Traveling as a faith-based organization does come with the responsibility to show your faith to others in your words, smiles, attitudes and quiet peace Allowing for fun and lighthearted activities, with time for fellowship and bonding between travelers During the trip, something is bound to go wrong – a cancelled reservation, weather delay, traffic congestion or human error

• •

that otherwise ruins a perfect trip. Expect this to happen and act accordingly. Help your travelers understand this is the nature of travel and that sometimes unexpected issues can lead to pleasant surprises. If a delay or cancellation causes a trip interruption, be ready to step in with an alternative to keep spirits high and things running smoothly. All of these things will create a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere that will keep your travelers happy and content. Creating this special bond and making everyone realize how important they are to the whole of the group will have them ready to sign up for the next trip. As the leader, you want to keep the spirit alive on the motorcoach or cruise ship, airplane or train. You will build on the success of this experience and have it flow right into the next tour.

Post-Tour Activities After you return home, plan post-trip activities and evaluation. Encourage your travelers to give honest feedback, letting them know their input is vital to the ongoing success of your travel program. Plan a tour reunion where everyone can share religioustraveldirectory.com

TRAVELING AS A FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATION DOES COME WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY TO SHOW YOUR FAITH TO OTHERS IN YOUR WORDS, SMILES, ATTITUDES AND QUIET PEACE memories and photos. This opportunity to maintain friendships will help you get signups for future tours. Have the schedule of your next travel opportunity and give them incentives to sign up early. The success of each tour will translate into a promising future for your travel program. You have created a travel family for your church or faith-based organization and given peace and understanding in the world a chance to flourish. Job well done! U Religious Travel Planning Guide

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religious travel planning guide directory

2011—our 88th consecutive season HIS LIFE changed our World. The experience could change YOURS. Presented at the newly renovated Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

Old Country Buffet and Country Buffet is perfect for small and large groups! We offer a great variety of high quality menu items. Discounts offered to groups of 20 or more. Our efficient staff ensures large groups can stay on schedule.

Group travel specialists offering over 30 fully-inclusive Ireland and Britain coach vacations. Customized special interest programs, including faith-based tours, of any length and price range.

Buffets, Inc. Reservations made easy Email: groupsales@buffetsinc.com or call 866-840-6654 www.buffet.com/leisuregroup

CIE Tours International 10 Park Place, P.O. Box 1965 Morristown, NJ 07962-1965 Phone: 1-800-CIE-TOUR or 973-292-3899 Fax: 1-800-338-3964 or 973-292-0463 www.cietours.com

The Original American Passion Play

Buffets, Inc.

C.I.E. Tours

A leader in travel since 1918, Collette offers over 150 tours to all 7 continents. Other faith-based journeys include: Pilgrimage to Fatima & Lourdes with Barcelona, Shrines of Italy, and Greece: In the Footsteps of Paul the Apostle. Call for details.

The most famous & most frequently visited shrine in Michigan. Open 365 days a year with masses held every day, year round.

The Original American Passion Play 107 E. Chestnut St., P.O. Box 3354 Bloomington, IL 61701 800-354-9640 tickets@americanpassionplay.org www.americanpassionplay.org

For more information call 877.861.8687 or contact your local District Sales Manager www.collettevacations.com

7078 M-68, Indian River, Michigan 49749 Phone: 231.238.8973 • Fax: 231.238.7012 Email: info@crossinthewoods.com Shrine Gift Shop: 231.238.8722 nationalshrine@crossinthewoods.com

Destinations Ireland & Beyond P.O. Box 739, Rhinebeck, NY 12572 PH: 212-757-5797 • Toll Free: 800-832-1848 FAX: 845-810-7678 info@01destinations.com www.destinations-ireland.com

Collette Vacations

Cross In The Woods

Destinations Ireland & Beyond

Where the roads to the past and future meet! Visit the Route 66 Museum Complex and Ackley Park — hotels, RV parks, restaurants, sightseeing and more. There's always something going on in Elk City and you're invited!

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Destinations Ireland & BEYOND has specialized in customized Religious Group Tours to Ireland, the United Kingdom and continental Europe for 21 years.

Only in this Ozark Mountains destination can your group be spellbound at every turn! Award winning restaurants, exciting attractions, quality lodging and unique shopping await.

Elk City Convention & Visitors Bureau P.O. Box 972, Elk City, Oklahoma 73648 800-280-0207 www.visitelkcity.com

Eureka Springs City Advertising & Promotion Commission Karen Pryor, Sales Director 121 E. Van Buren Ste. 3B, P.O. Box 522 Eureka Springs, AR 72632 karen@eurekasprings.org www.eurekasprings.org • 866-947-4387

Elk City CVB

Eureka Springs City

Religious Travel Planning Guide

The Faith Travel Conference & Expo will assemble the most influential group travel planners who are actively involved in planning for their church or ministry's annual mission, group travel, and retreat programs. Faith Travel Conference & Expo 488 Wheelers Farms Rd. Milford, CT 06461 Phone: 203-878-2577 Email: info@faithtravelexpo.com

Faith Travel Conference & Expo

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Enjoy superb dining, beautiful gift shops, family hospitality and professional Broadway musicals and revues including Christian concerts, original religious musicals and an annual Christmas show. The Fireside Dinner Theatre 1131 Janesville Avenue Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 800-477-9505 • www.firesidetheatre.com information@firesidetheatre.com Contact Jackie Brisko

The Fireside Dinner Theatre

The gold standard in escorted travel, Globus brings the world to life with vivid storytelling and engaging cultural experiences. Globus 5301 South Federal Circle Littleton, CO 80123 866.821.2752 www.globusfaith.com www.globusfamilygroups.com

Globus

Goway Travel Ltd. is one of the oldest tour companies in North America specializing in long-haul group travel. We are experts at designing customized faith-based itineraries for all types of religious and spiritual journeys and for all budget levels. Goway Travel Ltd. 1200 West 73rd Ave., Suite 1050 Vancouver, B.C. V6P 6G5 Phone: 800-838-0618 Email: groups@goway.com www.goway.com

Goway Travel Ltd.


religious travel planning guide directory

"Serving the Church through Travel” is our mission. Since its inception, Journeys has served the Christian community nationally. Our strong reputation and quality programs allowed us to expand adding destinations such as Greece, Turkey, Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Italy, England, and Germany.

When you walk the ancient streets of Jerusalem…When you follow in the footsteps of Jesus and his disciples…When you are transformed in your heart and spirit like never before … You’ll never be the same!

• Ancient Biblical Sites • Modern Adventures To receive a FREE DVD and more information, please contact:

Visit Israel 212-499-5660 info@goisrael.com www.israeltoolkit.com

Jordan Tourism Board N.A. 1-877-733-5673 Email: dvd@visitjordan.com www.visitjordan.com

Journeys Unlimited 494 Eighth Avenue, Suite 2200 New York, NY 10001 1-800-486-8359

Visit Israel

Jordan Tourism Board N.A.

Journeys Unlimited

Our Travel Protector – the leader in independent travel insurance for Religious Groups. Peace of Mind, Net Rates, Cancel for Any Reason. Our Travel Protector Contact: John Martinen Phone: 212-678-7998 Email: John@OurTravelProtector.com www.ourtravelprotector.com

Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism Sales Department Joy McNealy, CTIS or Kay Poole, CTIS P.O. Box 1390, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 1-800-285-7557 • groupsales@mypigeonforge.com

Seven Crown Resorts 8 Thomas, Ste 200, Irvine, CA 92618 800-752-9669 info@sevencrown.com www.sevencrown.com

Our Travel Protector

Pigeon Forge

Seven Crown Resorts

Swiss cities never fail to impress visitors by their scope. Nowhere are attractions, cultural centers, innovative gastronomy, insider tips and new favorite places in such close proximity as in Switzerland. Explore our cities on foot and discover.

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Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, draws its inspiration from the Great Smoky Mountains and presents the finest in wholesome entertainment and activities that all ages can enjoy.

Seven Crown Resorts offers houseboat getaways on Lake Shasta, Lake Mohave and the California Delta. All houseboats offer a fully-stocked kitchen, air-conditioning, BBQ and more.

The casual and affordable resort offers a perfect setting for retreats: lodges & cottages, dining, golf, swimming, tennis, sports center and spa – all in a lovely natural setting!

Switzerland Tourism 800-794-7795 Info.usa@switzerland.com www.myswitzerland.com

The Woods Resort & Conference Center Physical Address: 1694 The Woods Rd., Hedgesville WV 25427 Phone: 800-248-2222 Email: kathy@thewoods.com www.thewoods.com

Switzerland Tourism

The Woods Resort & Conference Center

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Let us help you plan BETTER RELIGIOUS TRIPS! Request information on advertisers in this edition, or tell us about your next group trip needs and we will connect you directly with qualified destinations and facilities!

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Religious Travel Planning Guide