GLENSIDE, Pa. -- At the beginning of a very rough 2002, Gate 1 here
had a decision to make.
"Either we were going to lie down and play dead, or we were
going to advertise like mad," said Ilene Braun, vice president of
marketing and sales. "We advertised, and it paid off."
With business up 20% for the year, Gate 1 was able to go ahead
with the expansion plans it had in place before last year's
terrorist attacks. Those plans included launching Gate 1's first
program in Costa Rica.
"It was a natural progression for us," said Braun. "We were
already doing South America for about a year and a half. We operate
Varig Travel Vacations, which is primarily Brazil [tours], but we
also do other South American countries as Gate 1."
Gate 1 offers a menu of hosted, independent and escorted
programs for Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, the
Galapagos and Peru, from four-night, independent programs to
19-night, escorted tours.
The operator's new Costa Rica program will be similarly
"We're doing it like we do other destinations; we're being a
supermarket," Braun said. "We're offering everything from short,
independent stays to fully escorted programs, hotel-only packages,
honeymoon, fly-drive and adventure."
Departures are set through October 2003.
Destinations for two-night plans include Guanacaste Province in the
northwest, which is known for its beaches; Tortuguero, a wildlife
preserve on the Caribbean coast; and Manuel Antonio National Park,
with white sand beaches backed by an evergreen forest. Land-only
rates begin at $229 per person, double.
All escorted tours feature two or three nights in San Jose; two
nights in Arenal Volcano National Park with a visit to Arenal Lake;
and an overnight in Monteverde and a visit to Monteverde Cloud
Options include nature walks, hiking, mountain biking, horseback
riding or visits to hot springs or beaches.
In addition, the firm's eight- or 10-night Costa Rican Adventure
itinerary includes a trip to Sarapiqui and a morning of white-water
Six-night plans start at $839, land only, or $1,279 with
roundtrip air from New York (Kennedy). Ten-night rates start at
$1,209, land only, or $1,679 with air from New York.
Rates are per person, double occupancy, and cover all transfers,
accommodations, some meals and guided sightseeing.
Gate 1 pays 17% commission on the land portion of escorted tours
and 10% on air and on all other programs.
In addition, to acquaint agents with the destination, Gate 1 is
offering an agent fam trip to Costa Rica from Nov. 9 to 14 for $299
per agent, land only, or $399 with air. Prices for guests are
"It's clearly a great destination for so many reasons," Braun
said. "[Clients] can do as much adventure as they want or just lie
out and enjoy the incredible views."
Costa Rica also appeals to travelers who want something more
exotic than the traditional North American destinations but are
concerned about going to Europe in the current environment, Braun
For additional information, contact Gate 1 at (800) 682-3333 or
visit www.gate1travel.com on line.