|Collette's Smithsonian Journeys brand is offering a tour featuring wines from South America. // (c) 2011 Collette Vacations|
Whatever your clients' interests, there is a tour that fulfills them, according to the U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA). Photography buffs can hone their skills shooting the ancient towns of Tuscany or the wildlife of the Galapagos, accompanied by professional photographers. Wine enthusiasts can visit Chile’s wine growing region or charter a barge through Burgundy, sampling local wines and gourmet cuisine.
“As tours have become increasingly sophisticated, they are targeting life interests more and more,” said USTOA President Terry Dale. “Travelers today can find tours focused on adventure, culinary and wine, photography, wildlife, cultural explorations, and more. And best of all, the tour operator has taken the hard work out of the trip by making all the arrangements, oftentimes at significant savings to the traveler. All you have to do is enjoy the experience,” Dale said.
The USTOA recently identified four representative vacation suggestions (with prices and itineraries) from its member companies that will appeal to photography and wine enthusiasts:
Nine-Night Photography in Tuscany
Clients can join a professional photographer on morning photo walks of Florence and Siena, Italy, and participate in two photography workshops on Go Ahead Tours’ Walking Through Tuscany Photography Tour. Priced from $3,219 per person, the tour includes round trip airfare from New York City or Boston, airport transfers, services of a bilingual tour director and a professional photographer, and licensed guides in Florence and Siena. Also included are accommodations in three- and four-star hotels, visits to surrounding towns, buffet breakfast daily, one lunch and a total of three three-course dinners including wine or beer; a winery visit and tasting in Chianti; plus transportation by deluxe motorcoach. The program is valid for travel through July 8. For details and reservations, agents should contact 800-242-4686 or visit www.goaheadtours.com/wph.
Nine-Night Galapagos Islands Photography Workshops
Clients can improve their photo and digital editing skills on International Expeditions' Galapagos Photography Workshops, where seasoned professional wildlife photographers provide daily lectures and offer hands-on advice during extensive shore excursions. Valid for travel through November 25, 2011, the tour can be booked at any time. Price begins at $4,798 per person, and includes visits to nine islands; daily shore excursions, interpretive walks, swimming, snorkeling, hiking and panga boat rides. Seven nights are spent onboard the yacht, Evolution, with hotel accommodations pre- and post-cruise. Also included are all onboard meals, copious snacks; two Level 3 certified naturalists; snorkeling gear and shorty wetsuits; kayaks; all bottled water; a full educational program; basic travel insurance, arrival and departure transfers; and more. Airfare is additional. For details, agents should call 800-633-4734 or visit www.ietravel.com.
Food & Wine
Six-Night Chocolate & Wine in France
Charter your own barge and cruise the rivers of Burgundy, visiting medieval Noyers, one of the most beautiful villages in France. A six-night Chocolate & Wine cruise from Abercrombie & Kent includes onboard tastings and dessert-making demonstrations. Included are accommodations for six people, three gourmet meals daily, guided sightseeing and entry fees. Meals are all prepared by on-board chefs – often with ingredients bought the same day at a local farmers market--and paired with local wines at lunch and dinner. Price for six nights is $4,500 per person, based on six guests. According to the company, travelers save $250 a day per person--or 30 percent--over making the same arrangements on their own. The trip is valid through October 31, 2011. For reservations and more information, agents should phone 800-323-7398 or visit www.abercrombiekent.com.
Nine-Night Wine Tasting in South America
Sample the wines of Chile and Argentina on a “Wines and Wonders of South America” tour by Smithsonian Journeys Travel Adventures. The trip includes a full-day excursion on the “tren del vino” from Santiago to the Colchagua Valley wine-producing area, wine tastings and education, accommodations, and 15 meals with wine at lunch and dinner, plus the services of a professional tour manager. Also available are an optional empanada cooking demonstration and a tango dance lesson. The tour is available for booking by March 15, 2012 for travel valid through April 11, 2012. The $2,199 per person price represents a savings of 30 percent compared to arranging the same vacation on your own, according to the company. For more information, agents should phone 800-528-9917 or visit www.collettevacations.com.
All tour prices are based on double occupancy. Restrictions and additional security fees, departure and local taxes and fees may apply. Prices may vary based on departure date.