Miami Herald: Faith-based Tours are Gaining Popularity

The Miami Herald just published a big story on faith-based travel.  Here's info about the article and how to access it:

Published by The Miami Herald

Written by Jay Clarke

Here's the opening two paragraphs of the article:

In troubled times, many people turn to their faith, which may explain why faith-based travel has been gaining momentum in recent years.
More operators are entering the marketplace, and more participants are taking journeys to sites with religious significance.

Webinar Invitation to Québec’s National Shrines (hosted by Destination Québec)

Are you involved in the travel industry? Are you involved in the product development and/or sales of tours?  Or are you involved in developing or expanding your faith-based travel portfolio?

If so, here's a webinar you'll definitely want to sign up for:

The Province of Quebec prides itself on the richness of four great National Shrines: Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré, Our Lady of the Cape Shrine, Saint Joseph's Oratory and The Shrine of Saint-Anthony's Hermitage. Together, they receive a total of 3,000,000 visitors annually, a number that shows the success of their intended purposes. They speak greatly of the faith of the people from Québec and the rich artistic creativity of the craftsmen who have built these great churches surrounded by beautiful gardens. A visit to these national shrines is truly a spiritual and also an historical experience.

Webinar Sign-up Info
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 2:00pm EST (14 h 00)

To register for the webinar visit

To know more about Quebec's webinars visit 

Major Article by Travel Weekly on Family Travel (by Michelle Baran)

A big story was published just this week on Family Travel by Michelle Baran of Travel Weekly.  I find it to be one of the most indepth and best stories published this year in the travel trade on the topic.  Below you'll find the link to the story. It is a MUST read for anyone involved, interested or affiliated with family travel. Enjoy! - Blogger Kevin

Travel Weekly - Logo

Family affair
By Michelle Baran

Read full story at

U.S. Travel Outlook - Current Industry Trends - Summer 2012

To get an inside look and glimpse at the current status of the travel industry, you can view the July 2012 issue of "U.S. Travel Oulook."

This publication is produced by the U.S. Travel Association with research and trends from Suzanne Cook.

To view the current issue, click here

To view other current news, resources and publications of the U.S. Travel Association, click here:

Student Youth Travel Association and Conference (SYTA)

I just returned from attending the Annual Conference of SYTA - Student Youth Travel Association. The event was held in Nashville (TN) from Aug 24-28.

The conference was outstanding and my congratulations go out to the entire SYTA staff and officers.

Who and what is SYTA? SYTA is a non-profit, professional trade association that promotes student & youth travel and seeks to foster integrity and professionalism among student and youth travel service providers.

If you're involved in student travel, be sure to get to know SYTA.

To learn more about SYTA or contact them, here is some helpful information and links:
+ Official website
+ About SYTA
+ Annual conference

To contact SYTA directly, click here:

Faith Travel Evolves Into Diverse and Profitable Niche (by Ruth A. Hill)

Here is an excellent article published this week from Travel Market Report on the faith-based travel market by writer Ruth A. Hill.

Read full article at

Faith Travel Evolves Into Diverse and Profitable Niche

Some say Moses was the first faith tour leader. He led the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land.

Worldwide religious, faith, or faith-based travel has been around for millennia, yet it’s growing and diversifying as never before. The good news for travel agents is that the niche represents hot business potential for those who take the steps to understand and serve it.

Tourism statistics on faith travel indicate that travel professionals who use creativity and expertise in responding to clients’ interests find unlimited business potential.

The UN World Tourism Organization estimates that 300 million to 330 million people a year participate in faith-based travel. The U.S. Travel Association reports that 25% of all travelers are interested in a spiritual vacation.

Read the rest of Ruth's article at

Irish Inn Owners Set to Retire

Today's Daily Register includes my story on the upcoming closing of the Irish Inn near Ozark in Pope County. Owners Brian and Lynne McCreery say it's time to retire after 12 years in the innkeeping business.

As I note in the story just in the last few years the inn has not only been named the "Small Business of the Year locally by the SIC Small Business Development Center in Harrisburg, but has received national recognition as among the Top 14 'Most Romantic,' the Top 10 'Fido Friendly,' and the 'Most International B&B in North America' to just name a few."

Lynne remains a strong supporter of tourism in the region and had good recommendations for those who want to go into the lodging business.

Check out the story for more.

Current News Stories with Topic of "Growth Markets" Featured

Here are several travel industry stories circulating in the news with the actual topic of "Growth Markets" featured in the articles.

ASEAN Spells Out Its Tourism Priorities Ahead of 2015
The countries of ASEAN are now implementing a clear road map to achieve the tourism objectives of the ASEAN Economic Community, due 2015. There will be a new ‘ASEAN for ASEAN’ campaign and special promotions, along with enhanced strategic cooperation with the growth markets of China, Korea, Japan, India and Australia.

Tourism From Emerging Markets Exceeds Rapidly
Tourism from the large growth markets, in particular China, is increasing significantly.

Africa Travel Association and Cameroon Partner to Increase Tourism to West and Central Africa
The ATA congress offers a line-up of educational and professional development seminars for travel professionals. Topics include social media, branding and marketing, attracting media coverage, product development, growth markets, cultural tourism, culinary tourism, airline access, and the latest travel trends in Africa.

ASEAN looks at redefining its tourism including with niche markets

The following article is by Luc Citrinot. Click here to see article from Travel Daily News:

ASEAN (Association of South East Asian nations) is launching a new campaign to build up world awareness about the economic grouping.

BANGKOK– ASEAN countries are now implementing a clear road map to achieve tourism objectives of the ASEAN Economic Community, due by 2015. There will be a new 'ASEAN for ASEAN' campaign and special promotions, along with enhanced strategic cooperation with the growth markets of China, Korea, Japan, India and Australia.

ASEAN Secretary-General Dr Surin Pitsuwan and ASEAN Tourism Ministers have endorsed the plan, which includes a swathe of initiatives such as the creation of a new website and digital promotional campaigns targeting the mass markets of China and India. ASEAN will also go for niche markets such as experiential, creative, adventure, business, senior, and long stay visitors. Further, there will be special promotions for the cruise market.

"Our strategy is designed to help build global recognition of Southeast Asia as a competitive, world-class tourism destination," said Dr Surin. "Our focus is on drawing visitors to the region and encouraging them to visit more than one country. As each has its own unique attractions, we will capitalize on the sophisticated marketing capacity and resources of our individual national tourism organizations to spread the word."

The ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan2011-2015 is the foundation of the ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy (ATMS)2012-2015, adopted by ASEAN Tourism Ministers in January 2012. It is the plan with which ASEAN national tourism organisations (NTOs) seek to achieve the objectives of 2015 and maintain double digit tourism growth, an ASEAN hallmark for much of the last 14 years.

ASEAN destinations attracted 81.2 million visitors in 2011, an average increase of a million visitors each year for the last two decades. Three out of four visitors to ASEAN come from Asia;46.5% from within ASEAN and 27.6% from other Asian markets. According to ASEAN NTOs, Europe is the next largest group of visitors to ASEAN at12.2%, followed by Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand) at 5.3%,and the Americas at 4.4%.

Niche and mass market promotions will go hand in hand. ASEAN Tourism Marketing Working Group Chairperson, Mr Sansern Ngaorungsi, who is also Deputy Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said: "While ASEAN's niche, tactical campaigns will target sectors such as adventure, experiential, business and long stay, and show the diversity of ASEAN, mass tourism demand for mainstream attractions is expected to keep growing and bring important economic benefits to ASEAN destinations."

One niche sector, cruise is being favoured by ASEAN because river and sea cruise ships usually visit more, than one destination. To promote cruise ship activity in ASEAN, Singapore is organizing the "Cruise Shipping Asia Pacific 2012" forum on 17 September in Singapore.

Southeast Asia NTOs will also be emphasizing the grouping's marketing plan at the ASEAN Tourism Forum which will take place in Vientiane, Laos 17-24 January 2013. Over 1,600 delegates will include some 150 ASEAN tourism ministers and officials, 800 ASEAN exhibitors, 400 international buyers, 150 international and local media and 100 tourism trade visitors.

(News) Pioneers in Student Travel Industry Join Forces to Enhance Educational Programs

Read full story at

Junior Tours And Manhattan Tour & Travel Announce Merger

Pioneers in the Student Travel Industry Join Forces to Enhance Educational Programs

NEW YORK, Aug. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Manhattan Tour & Travel, a tour company with strong connections to the New York City theatre community since 1990, announced that it has merged with Junior Tours, a tour company specializing in overnight educational tours since 1967. This union will create exciting new opportunities for group travelers.

"This merger will have an extraordinary impact on our current and future customers. They will benefit from better pricing and from greater organizational resources. Perhaps most importantly, the combined expertise of the two companies will enhance the options available to group leaders as we expand our tour programs," said Rich Abrams, President of Junior Tours.

Founded by Martin Abrams, a former social studies teacher in Brooklyn, NY, Junior Tours has remained true to its roots and still operates as a family business today. Meticulous planning and personalized service have always been the hallmarks of the company. In all, Junior Tours has worked with group leaders in all 50 states plus Canada and has hosted more than 500,000 students. Junior Tours is an active member of the Student Youth Travel Association, National Tour Association, American Bus Association as well sponsors of the Future Business Leaders of America, Texas Educational Theatre Association and DECA.

Founded by Sanford Levitt, an accomplished actor and member of the Educational Theatre Association's Hall of Fame, Manhattan Tour & Travel specializes in theatre tours to New York City. Manhattan Tour & Travel plans tour packages featuring advanced theatre workshops, private seminars with Broadway actors and backstage theater tours. Manhattan Tour & Travel is an active member and supporter of the American Association of Community Theatre.

Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, groups will have the opportunity to participate in exciting new workshops including "Showstopper!- A Working Musical Theater Party", "Winning Auditions – Get That Role", "Broadway Musicals and the Joy Of Singing In Them" and "Okay, I'm Singing But What Do I Do With My Hands?"

The executives and management of each Company will stay onboard.

For more information about Junior Tours, go to
For more information about Manhattan Tour & Travel, go to
Media Contact:
Richard Abrams Junior Tours, 800-631-2241 
News distributed by PR Newswire iReach:

Quebec Shrines FAM Tour for Travel Agents/Tour Operators

If you are a veteran travel agent or a tour operator - and are looking to expand your faith based portfolio of tours in North America, you may want to apply for the upcoming FAM Tour for the faith-based destination in the province of Québec (CANADA).

For more information, contact Genoveffa Fiorin of Quebec's National Shrines.

Here's helpful info:

1) To connect with Genoveffa Fiorin on, here is her profile:

2) Here is the official website for the Quebec Shrines:

2nd Annual Faith-based Tourism Leaders Forum (Jan 2013)

One of the Growth Markets we often cite in this blog is the faith-based travel and hospitality marketplace.

This January NTA will be hosting the 2nd Annual Faith-based Tourism Leaders Forum at Travel Exchange. Currently more than 120 companies have RSVP'd for the event. To learn more about the Forum and how to register, see below.


2nd Annual Faith-based Tourism Leaders Forum
Sunday, Jan. 20 (2013), 4:15–5:45 p.m.

The Faith-based Tourism Leaders Forum is an R.S.V.P. gathering of professionals, executives, organizations and thought-leaders involved in faith-based travel and hospitality. Serving as the only industry event of its kind, the inaugural forum (Dec. 2011) garnered the participation of 60-plus companies and tourism leaders. The event also gained extensive trade media coverage. Any NTA member and Convention delegate is invited to attend – however, R.S.V.P’s must be requested and granted in advance.  Conducted in a dynamic, interactive and networking atmosphere, the forum provides a firsthand opportunity to:

· Connect industry colleagues involved in faith-based tourism.
· Create new business relationships and partnerships.
· Discuss entrepreneurial ideas and innovative approaches to the marketplace.
· Exchange market-specific strategies, insights, trends and opportunities.
· Enrich NTA’s coalition and collaboration of faith tourism leaders, members and delegates.
· Shape and advance an industry vision of the marketplace.

 To attend and RSVP for the above Forum, you must first register for Travel Exchange. Here is information on registering for Travel Exchange:

For more info about Travel Exchange itself, click here:

To view schedule featuring the Faith-based Tourism Leaders Forum on Jan. 20:

Great Tourism Movie to Watch this Weekend: My Life in Ruins

Looking for a good tourism movie to watch this upcoming weekend?

Check out the movie "My Life in Ruins" - it's a wonderful comedy about a tour director and her tour group traveling in Greece.

Here's the official movie website

You can also view the movie trailer at above website or click here:

My Life in Ruins Poster

List of Growth Markets in Tourism

As this blog is dedicated to the topic of "Growth Markets in Tourism" - let's take a minute to identify some of them.

But first, what do we mean by "Growth Markets"? The term is pretty versatile, as it can refer to any or all of the following:
* Market growing in number of travelers.
* Market growing in revenues generated.
* Market growing in number of tour operators, travel agents, tourist offices and suppliers entering or expanding their presence within it.

The following are just some of the growth markets in today's world of tourism - all of which we cover in this blog plus many more:

+ Adventure travel
+ Agritourism
+ Culinary travel
+ Cultural travel
+ Ecotourism
+ Faith-based travel
+ Family travel
+ River cruising
+ Sports tourism
+ Voluntourism

This Week's Tourism Stories: Culinary, Family, Faith-based, Sports and Ecotourism

Market Focus: Ecotourism, Culinary, Family, Faith-based and Sports Tourism 

FocusMarket Focus connects you to articles about NTA members in specific industry segments, and with each article is a link to the member to contact for more information.

Florida's Emerald Coast Ripe for Ecotourism
NTA member to contact: Emerald Coast CVB

Culinary Tourism
Vermont Tourism Showcases Food and Farm Experiences
NTA member to contact: Vermont Tourism Network

Family Travel
Tweens Define Another Segment of Family Travel
NTA tour operators RSVP for Family Travel & Adventure Tourism Leaders Forum at Travel Exchange

Faith-based Travel
A Century of Strength: Branson Still Rooted in Faith
NTA member to contact: Branson Tourism Center, Branson/Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Sports Tourism
Wilmington (N.C.) Officials Attempt to Beef Up Sports Tourism
NTA member to contact: Wilmington and Beaches CVB 

(Euromonitor) Travel and Tourism Market Research Reports

A resource to consider purchasing/acquiring for discovering what the growth markets are in various countries around the world are the Euromonitor market research reports.

Here is additional information about these reports:


Summary description:
Market research for the travel and tourism industry
Euromonitor has the world’s most comprehensive research on the travel and tourism industry. We monitor and analyse industry trends in travel and tourism globally, including in-depth data on market share and market size – from the “big picture” down to specific category levels.

A Northern Ontario Fishing Camp Much Endowed With Family Soul

I will admit up front that I am a distant relative of the Lodge owners through marriage, from Saskatchewan. Having witnessed on a number of occasions the level of commitment the family invests in the culture of hospitality that is at the heart of what guests experience daily, I am truly in awe of this place. I would never hesitate to describe their customer service practices as exemplary. Donnelly family members tell me their secret is they treat guests like family coming home for the holidays. The number of repeat guests over decades and across generations, litterally, attests to the quality of their "Canadian" experience. Having quizzed a number American guests recently about their attachment to Donnelly's Minnitaki Lodge, I have to come to realize that coming here has become over time their quintessential "Canadian" holiday. I believe that says a lot!

Free Guide from Group University on "Understanding Faith Tourism" (by Cindi Brodhecker)

As this blog is dedicated to Growth Markets and learning more about them - one excellent resource to obtain is the free guide from Group University on the topic of "Understanding Faith Tourism."

This publication and resource is written by my good friend and faith-based tourism expert, Cindi Brodhecker. To learn more about Cindi and her company visit

Regarding obtaining the guide itself, here's the information:
Website link:

Understanding Faith Tourism

In this free Guide from Group University, Cindi Brodhecker, President of Faith Travel Development and Consulting, discusses the history of why religious groups travel, how to define your religious travel niche market and how to develop a portfolio for your religious travel product.

Introduction Excerpt:
“While new to some, faith tourism has existed since antiquity and was the first viable sector of the travel industry. In ancient Greece, for example, people would travel to worship the gods at important temples. Later, the Olympic Games became an event that drew thousands of “tourists” to Greece.”

To download your free copy, visit the website and following webpage:

Benton Civic Center Upgrades Building

The expansion and upgrade of the Benton Civic Center is taking longer than expected.

The new finish date is now projected for sometime in October compared to the original Sept. 1 date, according to a story in the Benton Evening News this week.

The project has been three years in the making. In the end the center will be bigger and better say officials allowing them to hold larger concerts and events.

Architect Brian Edmison said the state-of-the-art facility would include a 6,000-foot stage adding the stage would extend 36 feet beyond the former back wall.

“The roof will be 50 feet tall,” he said. “The only thing taller in Franklin County will be the Wood Building. That excludes towers and other structures. The height is needed to raise and lower scenery for theatrical productions.”

Edmison said two side sections would also be renovated to elevate the floor and install an orchestra pit 6 feet, 6 inches below the stage.

Click here for a slide show of the construction progress.

Current Tourism News Stories: Adventure, Agritourism, Family, Faith-based, Sports Tourism and More

Here are some of the top "growth markets in tourism" stories circulating in the news. For more information about each destination or organization represented below in the stories, click on the NTA member to contact link.

Whistler offers summer adventure product for tours
NTA member to contact: Tourism British Columbia

Agritourism Agritourism gains popularity in Mississippi
NTA member to contact: Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division, Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau

Family Travel
Alberta has many kid-friendly attractions and activities for family travel itineraries
NTA member to contact: Travel Alberta, Tourism Calgary, Edmonton Tourism, West Edmonton Mall

Faith-based Travel
Making the 74th annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Anne in Quebec, Canada
NTA member to contact: Quebec's National Shrines

Garden & Horticulture Tourism
Garden lovers can hit the road in New York 
NTA member to contact: Horizon Club Tours

Sports Tourism
Arizona economy gets boost from sports tourism
NTA member to contact: Arizona Office of Tourism, Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau, Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, Tempe Tourism Office, Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, Metropolitan Tucson & Visitors Bureau
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