Welcome to USTOA’s first-ever blog, “Travel Together.”  For more than 40 years, the United States Tour Operators Association has served as the voice of the tour operator industry, providing education and information to consumers and travel agents as well as an unparalleled level of consumer protection through adherence to the industry’s highest standards and the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program.

We’ve embarked on a remarkable journey to share the rich and engaging experiences enjoyed by the more than 6.5 million people who travetl with our members each year.  USTOA’s Travel Together blog will bring readers “up close and personal” with people and experiences that will amaze and awe…such as learning to weave a carpet with Egyptian artisans; witnessing how polar bears prepare for winter with a naturalist in Churchill, Manitoba; creating glass beads from recycled bottles with artists at the Madilika Craft Centre in Newington Gate, South Africa, among many more.

USTOA President Terry Dale in Peru

USTOA President & CEO Terry Dale in Peru

The Travel Together blog will welcome contributors from AFAR magazine, the experiential travel guide, and Tripfilms, the travel video channel created by real travelers for real travelers.  Teams from each media partner will write about the extraordinary opportunities to meet and engage with locals in each destination visited with USTOA members, including Egypt, South Africa, Australia’s Northern Territories,  Manitoba, Croatia, Taiwan and Colombia.

Traveling with and as guests of our tour operator members, the contributors will share their experiences as well as those of their fellow travelers.  That is really the heart and soul of Travel Together…experiences that are shared with travel companions as well as the native people met in the local markets, restaurants, museums, sites, and attractions visited.  Each affords visitors the opportunity to “live like a local,” to see, taste, and smell local culture, cuisine, arts, handicrafts and more.

From time to time, Travel Together will also feature guest bloggers from other fields in the travel industry who will contribute timely tips, global viewpoints and trend pieces.

So, welcome…we hope you enjoy the journey with us.

-Terry Dale, USTOA President & CEO