Tour Operators Focus on ‘Live Like a Local’ Immersive Experiences

‘Travel Together’ Program Launch Includes Travel to England Facebook Sweepstakes

The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) is on a mission to share with all travelers the rich and engaging off-the-beaten path experiences enjoyed by the more than 6.5 million people who travel with its tour operator members each year. Through its newly launched Travel Together campaign, a thoughtfully curated collection of experiential videos and blog posts, USTOA will bring travelers “live like a local” moments that delve deeply into immersive cultural experiences in featured destinations across the globe.

And to inspire travelers to check it out, USTOA is giving travelers the chance to win a trip for two to England.

“Our tour operator members are uniquely suited to help make bucket-list destinations such as Egypt and South Africa accessible and within reach, and by harnessing local connections and expertise, they create extraordinary opportunities to immerse travelers in local culture and customs,” said USTOA President and CEO Terry Dale. “The Travel Together moments shared are the definition of ‘experiential’ travel.”

Egypt and South Africa are the first Travel Together destinations, in partnership with USTOA members Abercrombie & Kent in Egypt and Collette and Swain Destinations in South Africa, with videos from travel expert and video journalist Kelley Ferro and in-depth blog posts from a team of Ambassadors from AFAR magazine.  Each shares a number of local connections accessible through USTOA tour operator members that use knowledgeable, on-the-ground experts throughout the destinations, from native Egyptologists to resident guides to artisanal businesses and schools in Soweto and game preserve conservationists locating the “big five” at an animal preserve in South Africa.

Travel Together videos and blog stories can be found at and, as well as Consumers can follow the adventures on Twitter by using #traveltogether and joining Facebook chats at with the media team scheduled throughout the coming months.

“That is really the heart and soul of why we travel: to share experiences with travel companions and make connections with the native people in the local markets, restaurants, museums, sites, and attractions visited,” Dale said.  “Travel Together provides insider looks at travelers sharing singular experiences to meet with shopkeepers, learn how to make native foods, share a meal with a family in their home, see how carpets are woven, explore the backroads and even visit local schools, among so many others, because of the access provided by USTOA members.”

Win a Trip to England

As part of the Travel Together launch, USTOA is giving travelers the chance to win a trip for two to England courtesy of Worldwide Traveler and Delta with local experiences such as a private tasting of award-winning Somerset ciders and a visit to the picturesque village of Lacock, the filming location of Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice.  The six-night trip includes roundtrip coach airfare, transfers, accommodations, scheduled meals, local transportation and tour leader.  To enter the sweepstakes, visit

Among the highlights in Egypt, Kelley Ferro and AFAR Ambassador Alison Cornford-Matheson recount how Abercrombie & Kent’s Egyptologists shared their passion for antiquities and how they bring history to life. They learned about spices from a shopkeeper in Luxor, the ancient art of carpet weaving at a school in Sakkara as well as where to find the best falafel being made in Cairo, and the wonders of a riverboat cruise along the Nile.

With Collette, South Africa AFAR blogger Nina Dietzel shares a look at Soweto’s vibrant life including a thriving family restaurant that started in a car port and now actively involves four generations, and her visit to a preschool in Knysna provides an unfiltered look at modern-day township life. Swain Destinations took travel expert and video journalist Kelley Ferro inside the teaching kitchens and on safari in Singita game preserve, as well as to the insider spots of Cape Town.

A frequent contributor to Tripfilms, the travel video channel created by real travelers for real travelers, Kelley Ferro and a cadre of AFAR Ambassadors will visit and chronicle the extraordinary opportunities to meet and engage with locals in each destination. Following the June launch, videos and blogs about new destinations visited with USTOA tour operator members will be added monthly, which include Australia’s Northern Territory with Goway, Taiwan with Ritz Tours, Croatia with VBT Bicycling & Walking Vacations and Delta, Manitoba with Tauck, and Colombia with Avanti Destinations.

More information about Travel Together destinations can be found at

Representing more than $11 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow six million travelers annually unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe.  Each member company is required to meet the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.  As a voice for the tour operator industry for 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.

For more information about USTOA, visit, call 212.599.6599 or email


© 2014 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit,, and Blogging at Send comments or questions to Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at