Australia and New Zealand specialist AAT Kings was founded in 1912 and offers escorted tours, day tours, shorter vacation packages and small-group tours. Based in Anaheim, Calif., AAT Kings is owned by tour operator conglomerate the Travel Corp.
NOMINATED: Adventure, Africa, Luxury
Abercrombie & Kent was founded as a safari outfit by Geoffrey Kent and his parents in 1962. Since then, it has grown into a global, luxury travel brand with 52 offices around the world and land programs, private villas, ocean and river cruises in more than 100 countries on all seven continents. Last year, Chinese real estate developer Zhonghong Group acquired a majority stake in Abercrombie & Kent. For 2018, A&K is bringing back cruises to Greece after a sever-year hiatus and is continuing to expand its Wings Over the World portfolio, a product line launched two years ago that incorporates privately chartered flights.
Since launching with just a couple of itineraries in 2005, Adventures by Disney, the Walt Disney Co.'s tour operator arm, has grown into a global vacation escorted tour brand for families. For 2018, Adventures by Disney has added Iceland to its lineup of more than 30 itineraries and destinations throughout Africa, Asia, Australia, Central and South America, Europe and North America. The company also launched family-friendly European river cruising in 2016 through a partnership with river cruise line AmaWaterways.
The Travel Corp.'s Africa specialist operator, African Travel offers wildlife safaris and custom adventures to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Swaziland, Mozambique, Mauritius, Seychelles, Rwanda, Dubai and Jordan. African Travel is one of a growing number of travel companies that has vowed to stop selling elephant rides and elephant shows as part of its animal welfare policy
NOMINATED: Caribbean, Group Packaged, Hawaii, Mexico, Packaged Overall, Packaged Sales & Service
The family-owned and -operated Apple Vacations dates to 1969. Today, the company has evolved to offer a mix of air-only, hotel-only and complete vacation packages to the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Cuba, Costa Rica, Panama, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico and North America ski resorts.
Founded in 1981, Blue Sky Tours sells only Hawaii and the South Pacific and only through agents. Based in Albuquerque, N.M., Blue Sky is a member of the Mark Travel Corp. and provides complete Hawaii vacation packages, including hotels, condos, car rentals, tours and air.
NOMINATED: Escorted Sales & Service, Escorted Overall
For 85 years, Morristown, N.J.-based CIE Tours International has specialized in vacations to Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. The company offers escorted tours and packaged vacations as well as custom independent travel. CIE Tours also has self-drive and chauffeur-driven programs available in Ireland. Last year, CIE Tours appointed Elizabeth Crabill to serve as CEO, taking over for Brian Stack, who retired after 25 years with the company.
NOMINATED: Hawaii, Luxury
Classic Vacations started in 1978 as a Hawaii specialist. The company has since grown to provide premium and luxury travel packages, accommodations, transportation options, tours and excursions in the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, Canada and the South Pacific. Last year, Classic Vacations added Asia to its portfolio as well as a program called Classic Connections, which offers tours the wholesaler hasn't traditionally offered through third-party suppliers.
NOMINATED: Africa, Canada, Domestic Escorted, Escorted Overall, Europe, Escorted Sales & Service, International
The Pawtucket, R.I.-based Collette is one of the oldest tour operators in the U.S., dating to 1918 when Jack Collette founded the company. In 1962, Dan and Alice Sullivan took over, and the company has stayed in the Sullivan family ever since. Today, Collette offers more than 160 tours to destinations on all seven continents, including its new social impact tours, which officially launched this year and combine touring with local give-back initiatives.
Dating back to 1962, Contiki specializes in travel experiences for ages 18 to 35. The company offers more than 300 trips in 50-plus countries and is owned by the Travel Corp. This year, Contiki named Adam Cooper, formerly of youth travel agency STA Travel, to serve as president of Contiki USA.
NOMINATED: Caribbean, Domestic Packaged, Europe, Group Packaged, Hawaii, International, Mexico, Packaged Overall, Packaged Sales and Service
Delta Vacations offers Delta Air Lines vacation packages from the U.S. and Canada to Mexico, Costa Rica, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. Delta Vacations is operated by Atlanta-based MLT Vacations. Earlier this year, Jennie Ho was named the new president of Delta Vacations.
NOMINATED: Adventure, Caribbean, Domestic Packaged, Group Packaged, International, Mexico, Packaged Overall, Packaged Sales & Service, Agent Loyalty Program
Funjet Vacations is owned by the Mark Travel Corp. and specializes in vacation packages to 120 destinations in Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, Cuba, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, the continental U.S. and North America's ski regions.
Founded in 1990, Toronto-based G Adventures has grown into an adventure travel company with more than 1,800 employees worldwide, offering small-group tours, safaris and expeditions to more than 100 countries on all seven continents. The company is continuing to expand the number of tours offered under its National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures brand and will also be launching tours to Oman and Hawaii for 2018.
NOMINATED: Africa, Asia/Pacific, Canada, Domestic Escorted, Escorted Overall, Europe, International, Escorted Sales & Service
The Globus Family of Brands which encompasses the brands Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways dates back to 1928. Today, the Globus family of brands comprises some 10,000 departures and nearly 300 itineraries, spanning more than 65 countries on six continents. Combined, the company's brands move nearly 500,000 passengers each year. For 2018, Globus is launching an Undiscovered Italy product, which is designed to lure travelers to lesser-known Italy destinations such as Apulia.
NOMINATED: Adventure, Asia/Pacific, Canada, Caribbean, Domestic Packaged, Europe, Group Packaged, Hawaii, International, Luxury, Mexico, Packaged Overall, Packaged Sales & Service
Founded in 1951, Gogo Vacations was acquired in 2008 by Australian parent Flight Centre Ltd., a move that helped Gogo greatly expand its global vacation offering. Today, Gogo sells packages to the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Thailand, Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Dubai and Egypt.
Since 1970, Toronto-based Goway has offered group and independent travel to Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Central and South America and to island destinations around the world. Goway has offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Sydney.
NOMINATED: Domestic Escorted, Escorted Overall, Europe, Escorted Sales & Service, Luxury
Insight offers more than 100 journeys in Europe, North America, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Morocco, Egypt and Israel, all with high-end accommodations and group sizes that are limited to 40 people. Last year, Insight launched a Luxury Gold collection aimed at the high-end tour market, with five-star properties and dining in Michelin-starred restaurants.
Family-owned and -operated since it was founded in Kenya in 1966 by Jane and Felix Pinto, Micato Safaris offers several styles of safari trips in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Zambia, Zanzibar, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Rwanda and India.
NOMINATED: Asia/Pacific, Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Packaged Overall, Packaged Sales & Service
In 1997, Hawaii specialist Pleasant Holidays purchased Japan & Orient Tours and expanded its destinations to include Asia, Europe and the Pacific. The company now also offers itineraries in Costa Rica, Mexico, the Caribbean and the U.S. as well as European river cruises. And after a nearly decade-long hiatus from Asia, Pleasant Holidays is selling Asia packages for 2018, with an emphasis on Japan.
NOMINATED: Africa, Asia/Pacific, Canada, Domestic Escorted, Escorted Overall, Europe, International, Luxury, Escorted Sales & Service
Tauck has a history in touring that dates back to 1925, when company founder Arthur Tauck began offering tours through the back roads of New England. Today, Tauck offers premium escorted land, cruise, river cruise and family journeys that total more than 100 itineraries worldwide. The company's growing European river cruise business has expanded to a fleet of eight vessels.
NOMINATED: Canada, Domestic Escorted, International, Europe, Escorted Sales & Service, Escorted Overall
Trafalgar, which is owned by the Travel Corp., specializes in escorted vacations to Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, North and South America, South Africa, Asia and the South Pacific, the U.S. and Canada. Trafalgar has several categories of travel product, including its At Leisure program, for travelers who want more freedom; Costsaver, for more budget-oriented travelers; Family Experiences, for families hitting the road together; and Hidden Journeys, a collection of small-group trips. This year, Melissa da Silva, formerly of Contiki, took over as president of Trafalgar USA.
NOMINATED: Caribbean, Domestic Packaged, Group Packaged, Hawaii, Luxury, Mexico, Packaged Overall, Packaged Sales and Service
Founded in 1974, Travel Impressions provides leisure vacation packages to more than 200 destinations worldwide, with a roster of more than 1,850 resorts and hotels and 1,500 luxury villas. Destinations include the Caribbean, Asia, Mexico, Central and South America, China, Europe, Israel, Dubai, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Canada and the U.S. In 2013, Travel Impressions was acquired by Apple Leisure Group.
NOMINATED: Domestic Packaged
United Vacations is the packaged travel brand of United Airlines and is operated by Milwaukee-based Mark Travel Corp. United Vacations sells vacation packages to the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Central America, the Middle East and South America. United Vacations also sells Disney packages.