Tara Tours continues to invest in agents

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MIAMI -- Tara Tours is celebrating its 20th anniver-sary with a party that will continue well into 2001.

The celebration well include eight to 10 agent fam trips, which have become the hallmark of the company's marketing program.

"We believe that fam trips are the No.1 educational tool for agents," said Tara Tours president Daniel Taramona, "for nothing can match the experience of being there."

Agents who invest time and money in getting to know Latin American destinations will find the payback is "the conviction one gains in selling what you know and what you enjoy," he added.

Company co-owner Hermine Taramona is in charge of escorting fam trips and introducing agents to the history, culture and natural attractions in countries that include Costa Rica, Guatemala and Belize to Peru and Ecuador and Argentina.

Since Tara Tours began operating the agent trips (which usually include 12 to 16 participants), the firm has gained a loyal following of retailers "who have learned that clients who have everything [about their trip] organized, and who have someone on site to fix any glitches in arrangements, end up with more rewarding vacations."

The company originally sold trips to Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.

When political problems hit Peru in 1982 and 1983, Tara Tours shifted its destination focus to Brazil and then north to Guatemala, Costa Rica and Belize.

Now, business is more competitive, and the company has carved its niche in customized itineraries of all kinds.

One of Tara Tours' key requirements is that the staff knows the destinations. So, they get to visit most Latin American countries so that "we all have made continuous inspections of hotels and attractions and can provide first-hand information."

In his general recommendations to travel agents for increasing sales to Latin America, Taramona said it is important to establish a relationship with one tour supplier in order to negotiate better rates with volume.

This also will enable agents to gain confidence in selling travel to a particular country if the arrangements require precise and elaborate ground operations.

For additional information on Tara Tours, call (800) 327-0080 or (305) 871-1246 or access the Web site at www.taratours.com.

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