As I walked the trade show floor at the ASTA congress in Las Vegas
a few weeks ago, I sought out companies that were not in the show a
year earlier, or indeed, that might not have even existed last
There were plenty, and not surprisingly, many had some kind of
I was intrigued in equal measure by another focus:
special-interest or adventure travel.
There was Uncommon Voyage, a California-based entity that
promises access to some of the world's most exotic destinations,
whether the client's interest is nature, specialty trips, active
travel or culture.
This is a budding consortium: Lisa Brandes, owner of Voyages
Travel, is recruiting other agents with specialty niches to join
I was enchanted by the Uncommon Voyage booth with its display
reminiscent of scenes from Indiana Jones movies.
Not far away, Atlanta-based eGulliver (a dot-com with a niche focus) also
sought agencies with specialties to join a network. They are
promised referrals from the eGulliver Web site.
The attention-grabber here was the garb. Deslie Webb, founder
and chief executive officer, was jauntily decked out in khaki
shorts; others in her group had dressed to represent various travel
ASTA was barely over and we wrote about the creation of the
Adventure Collection, a marketing alliance of six adventure travel
operators. (To read about it, click here.)
The group aims to be a source of adventure travel information
for agents and the public, said Jan Cooper, vice president of sales
for Lindblad Expeditions, a founding member.
In the same issue, we reported on ExpeditionTrips.com, a new Web company that aims to
disseminate information on 30 companies that offer small-ship
cruises and to act as a wholesaler for those same firms. It claims
to have the only Web-based searchable database on this product
We knew adventure travel is growing in popularity; also,
adventure tour firms are more interested in retailers than has
historically been the case.
The feelings are mutual: More retailers want to sell exotic
products, too. After all, you can make some real money and collect
happy, repeat customers.
The timing could not be better for a new Travel Weekly feature
that highlights active/adventure travel. To read that story, click here. Because the focus is on small-ship
cruises, you will find more on ExpeditionTrips.com there.
Each month, we'll highlight other facets of active/adventure
travel. The series also will include features on special-event
travel. Look for the series. And send us an e-mail with your