Saturday, January 21, 2012

President Obama @Disney World Makes Important Announcements on Plans to Increasing US Tourism

President Obama announces a plan at Disney World to increase US tourism by simplifying visa process for Chinese, Brazilin and Taiwanese visitors. This should greatly increase the number of jobs and careers for tour guides, step on guides, tour managers, travel staff and receptive services.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — With Cinderella Castle as a backdrop and under a cloudless blue sky, President Barack Obama on Thursday issued a message to the world: “America is open for business.”

Obama earlier in the day issued an executive order to ease U.S. visa policies and expand the number of countries in the Visa Waiver Program, with the goal of increasing inbound U.S. tourism.

“I want America to be the number one tourist destination in the world,” Obama told the crowd at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

To do that, Obama said he has directed his administration to increase by 40% the visa-processing capacity in China and Brazil, where securing a visa to visit the U.S. can take up to a year.

He noted that Brazil and China have emerging middle classes and citizens with growing disposable income, but that onerous U.S. visa policies mean their citizens have difficulty getting to the U.S.

“People want to come here, and Brazil and China are two of the countries with the biggest backlogs,” Obama said. 


“That’s what today is all about: telling the world that America is open for business.”

Obama said the new tourism strategy is part of his job-creation plan.

“The more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

Touching on the difficult balance between maintaining safe borders and the interests of the tourism sector, Obama said, “There’s no reason we can’t do both.”

Obama also said he is instructing his administration to expand the Visa Waiver Program to more nations, such as Taiwan.

In addition, the Obama administration aims to expand Global Entry, a program that allows expedited clearance at the airport for pre-screened international travelers.

While it has been suggested in the media that Obama’s speech was as much about his reelection campaign (Florida is projected to be a key swing state) as it was about tourism, U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow commended Obama for being “the first sitting president to say that increasing travel and tourism is important.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Job Request for Mature, Dedicated Tour Directors

I just received the following job request from Jon Barber at Adventure Travel West. He's looking for "mature, dedicated outdoor tour directors". When applying be sure to mention your training. It will help you in the hiring process and is important to the tour operators.


Adventure Travel West, Inc caters to European groups traveling in the Western US National Parks. We are looking for mature, dedicated outdoor tour directors, for expansion of our team to lead our small group, quality tours. Our tour directors guide groups inside national parks on day hikes, as well as give commentary, and transport groups between destinations.

The ideal candidate has the following qualifications: highly organized, lots of outdoor leadership experience, fun loving, high energy, clean driving record, knows the Western US National Parks. CDL and WOFA are preferred. Some training is possible. We are especially looking for tour directors that speak Italian, Spanish, French, German or other European languages. Our season is April - November. Our professional tour directors are very well compensated.

Please send your resume to:

company website is:

Monday, January 16, 2012

USTOA members reveal travel trends for 2012 , Travel Association News

The United States Tour Operators Association lists the trends for 2012.   I like seeing tourism receiving so much attention for the 'good' we do around the world.  It's makes our careers as Tour Directors and Guides even more important, appreciated and enriching.

An annual survey of active members of the US Tour Operators Association (USTOA) revealing forecasts and trends for 2012 travel confirmed that “experiential travel” – or the “E Factor,” as USTOA President Terry Dale calls it – continues to be a priority for travelers and was rated important/extremely important by 85% of survey respondents to their overall growth and sales.  Baby Boomers 46 to 65 years of age comprised the largest age group of travelers seeking “E Factor” vacations.  Boomers are also the largest market in general for tour operator members responding to the survey, representing nearly 60% of their customers.

The region of the world with the most “E Factor” options for travelers is Europe, according to 37% of members, followed by South America (20%).   Within Europe, Italy was named the most frequently as the destination offering the most experiential travel options.  In responding why, members cited food, wine and culinary tours, historical and educational opportunities, art and culture in general.  France followed closely behind, for similar reasons. 

The thirst for learning experiences is driving member tour operators to increase “E Factor” itineraries next year.  More than half (53%) of the survey respondents plan to offer new experiential programs in 2012, with culinary tours topping the list at 26%; culture tours at 22%, and nature, adventure, photography and golf also cited.

When asked to name the top “off-the-beaten-path” or emerging destinations that will gain popularity in 2012, Vietnam was cited most frequently, followed by India, Ecuador and China. 

“Europe provides such a wealth of cultural experiences it’s no wonder it continues to rank highly among our members’ customers,” said Dale.  “At the same time, expanding programs to offer new and exciting experiences in more exotic destinations throughout the world will meet the growing demand for adventure from Baby Boomers and begin to attract the next generation of travelers.”

Encouragingly, more than half (53%) of the members surveyed anticipate increasing itineraries in 2012 to destinations recovering from events this past year that negatively impacted tourism.  Egypt was named most frequently as the country operators plan to increase tours to, followed closely by Greece, Japan and New Zealand.  In fact, nearly one third of respondents (28.6%) have already seen an increase in bookings to those destinations for 2012. 

“Consumer demand for truly rich experiences will continue to attract experiential travelers to these hard-hit destinations, and they can return with confidence when they book with a USTOA member,” said Dale. “Our members understand how rewarding these destinations are to their clients, and at the same time, the importance of tourism in helping to rebuild.”

Results of the survey of members were unveiled during USTOA’s Annual Conference & Marketplace, held in Marco Island, FL, December 10-13, 2011.