By Terry Dale, President and CEO, USTOA
Safety and security have always been the top priorities for The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) and our members. The unparalleled knowledge and relationships built within each destination our members take guests help build engaging and memorable experiences, but also ensures an informed and swift reaction should an emergency situation occur before, during, or after a scheduled trip. Keeping passengers safe while communicating necessary information creates a priceless peace of while traveling.
As avid travelers and global citizens, the presidents of our tour operator members are laser-focused on the security and safety of all travelers, both at home and abroad. We’ve commissioned a couple of them to share their thoughts on how traveling with a tour operator provides security, knowledge and peace of mind to travelers in today’s sometimes uncertain world climate.
Here’s what they had to say:
Stephen Birkett, Co-President & Co-Owner of Premier World Discovery:
One of the main reasons travelers traditionally select tours is to have all the unknowns taken care of for them. Hotel selection, meals, sightseeing and transportation are a big part of what a tour operator provides. Given the current world climate with safety concerns, the tour operator is again taking care of another unknown aspect of travelling to another country. Obviously, we cannot cover every scenario regarding safety, but we are not going to take passengers into questionable areas and we have proven experience in the places we are travelling to.
Additionally, on all of our tours we have an experienced guide leading the group and their experience should provide that peace of mind that travelers seek and in case of emergencies they are right there to help and guide.
Ian Swain, President and Owner of Swain Destinations:
Last month, a cyclone barreled through Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Islands. As soon as the cyclone made the forecast, our response team began preemptively rearranging itineraries, hotel arrangements, experiences and flights for active and upcoming travelers, to ensure their journeys would be uninterrupted and safe. This is the benefit you receive when working with travel company members of USTOA.
Travel companies like Swain have teams on the ground that intimately know a destination, allowing them to proactively address any travel challenges. Their destination network becomes your network, providing the security and peace of mind to truly enjoy your experience. Swain Destinations has spent over 30 years curating trips, acquiring destination knowledge, and setting up the support infrastructure and the proactive policies to effectively communicate with our travelers. Regardless of the current world climate, traveling with a travel company instills confidence that you always know who to contact in any event.