VBT Bicycling & Walking Vacations has joined the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), offering your clients group bicycling, walking and cross-country ski tours worldwide, with a bevy of new itineraries for 2014.
“We are delighted to welcome VBT to our membership,” says Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA. “Adventure tourism is a growing market, as many of today’s travelers are seeking physical activity, nature-based and cultural experiences as a part of their journeys. VBT brings to USTOA a deep expertise in this area.”
The company, which was founded in 1971 by a Middlebury College professor, offers small-group tours to destinations in Europe, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, Peru, Argentina, Canada and the United States. The rates for each trip includes accommodations; most meals; two expert, local trip leaders; sightseeing and activities; full vehicle support; and roundtrip international airfare from 30 U.S. cities.
For 2014, the company has added 16 new tours, including six bicycling trips, eight walking trips and two cross-country skiing trips.
“I can see the new energy throughout the company as we launch an unprecedented number of trips in 2014. But it’s the careful selection and design of destinations more than the number that gets me really excited,” says Chris Skilling, VBT’s director of worldwide product. “It’s impossible to have a favorite, but I can’t stop thinking about New Zealand, which will become even more visited by VBT with the addition of our walking program in 2014. The Kiwi’s practically invented ‘tramping,’ and the opportunity to get away in our winter, to walk in the sunshine and along the coast of the South Island’s top end, is super attractive.”
The tour Skilling describes, Walking New Zealand: Splendor of the South Island, is designed for travelers seeking an easy to moderate terrain with about one to five hours of walking daily covering between two and six miles. While walking through the foothills of the Southern Alps and the shores of the Marlborough Sounds, guests will spend nine nights in lodgings, including a 2-night stay in the Abel Tasman National Park. Rates for the 12-day package (including roundtrip air) starts at $4,945 pp and includes 18 meals and transfers.
If your clients are looking to stay closer to home, VBT is also offering the new Yellowstone in the Winter: Skiing America’s First National Park itinerary. The 6-day, land-only tour starts at $2,595 pp and includes 12 meals; a 5-night stay in two Yellowstone National Park lodges; complimentary use of cross-country waxless classic skis, boots and poles or snowshoes and poles; complimentary ski clinic with local instructors; and local transport. Travelers will have the chance to experience the Lone Star Geyser and Old Faithful; take a snow coach to Mammoth hot Springs; and ski along the Yellowstone River to Tower Falls.
VBT Bicycling & Walking Vacations offers 5 percent commission on its trips. For more information, call (800) 245-3868 or visit vbt.com.