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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Tour Operators Are Optimistic

Anybody ready for some good news?

There is a lot of optimism on the part of major tour operator members of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) for a strong return to both domestic and international travel this spring and summer. These bellwether companies are an excellent source of industry intelligence.

If you have travelers who are interested in rediscovering America, you’re in luck. And if you have members who are itching to use their passports again, tell them to dust them off.

Half these companies are already exploring the U.S., and almost 70% have international bookings in place for the second quarter of this year, April through June. A third of them have international trips in this quarter, January through March.

This could be a great time to take a small group of your adventurous travelers somewhere exotic. USTOA president Terry Dale said two-thirds of his members plan to resume travel operations this year despite the possibility of lower passenger counts and lower margins.

For those of you looking at leaving the country, here are just a few destinations examined in USTOA’s research:

Canada — Sixty percent of responding tour operators expect to have trips to this border country by this spring.

Europe — Half the respondents expect to return travelers to the continent by late spring, and a third expect to do that in April.

Middle East — A third of these companies expect to have groups in the region early this year.

Here’s to a global vaccine program that inspires safe and smart travel in 2021.

Email me anytime with your thoughts at maclacy (at)