Abercrombie & KentNominated: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Luxury
Abercrombie & Kent spans the globe with excursions in 100 countries on all seven continents. The company owns and operates luxury camps and lodges in remote destinations. This year, A&K expanded its adventure-cruising portfolio throughout Asia-Pacific with small-ship cruise itineraries on the 118-passenger Clipper Odyssey. In 2007, A&K was voted Best in Luxury and Best in Africa for the third consecutive year by Travel Weekly readers.
African TravelNominated: Africa
African Travel specializes in wildlife tours and custom adventures to South Africa; Botswana; Namibia; Zambia, including Victoria Falls; Zimbabwe; Kenya; Tanzania, including Zanzibar; Rwanda and Uganda, including gorilla trekking; Mozambique; Seychelles; Mauritius; Egypt; and Dubai. It offers tours ranging from individual and small-group departures to custom, private safaris. Extensions can take safari-goers to the beaches of the Seychelles or shopping in Dubai.
Apple VacationsNominated: Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Sales & Service
Apple Vacations offers a mixture of air-only, hotel-only or complete vacation packages to 60 destinations, including the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico and North America ski resorts. In technology news, Apple is beta testing a new online booking engine to enable agents to make complicated bookings, such as multiple-destination vacations. In 2007, Travel Weekly readers voted Apple Vacations Best in Mexico for the fourth consecutive year and Best in the Caribbean for the third time.
Blue Sky ToursNominated: Hawaii
Blue Sky Tours specializes in Hawaii vacations, offering a wide selection of hotels, condominiums, car rentals, tours, activities and airline options. A subsidiary of the Mark Travel Corp., Blue Sky's only business is Hawaii, where it has been selling customized vacations for more than 25 years.
Classic VacationsNominated: Caribbean, Hawaii, LuxuryClassic Vacations provides all-inclusive, luxury travel to the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico and the South Pacific. For travelers seeking the flexibility of premium air travel, Classic offers private jet service, which enables clients to fly at their convenience; private transfers, flight attendants and gourmet meals can be arranged. Classic Vacations is an operating company of Expedia.
Collette VacationsNominated: Canada, Domestic, International, Sales & ServiceCollette Vacations, a family-owned business, enjoys the distinction of being the oldest tour operator in the U.S. Founded 90 years ago by Jack Collette, the company changed hands in 1962 when Dan and Alice Sullivan took over, and it has stayed in the family ever since. The company offers 150 programs to destinations on all seven continents. Travelers can choose from small-group tours, educational travel, train journeys, river cruises and vacations that feature a Collette Foundation site visit. The Collette Foundation is an employee-run, global initiative connecting Collette employees, its partners, travelers and communities worldwide to improve and extend the quality of life of children. Through a five-year, $2 million investment, the Collette Foundation funds projects in 20 countries worldwide.
Funjet VacationsNominated: Caribbean, Domestic, MexicoFunjet Vacations, the Mark Travel Corp.'s flagship brand, specializes in personalized, independent vacations for individuals and groups. The operator serves 116 destinations in Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, the continental U.S. and North America ski regions. The company also offers commercial and charter flights to destinations around the world. The Go Funjet affiliate marketing program enables agents to place a Funjet Vacations link on their own website and receive full credit and commission for bookings received via that link. In addition, any registered agent who is a member of Funjet's 500 Club is included in the agency search results on Funjet.com.
GlobusNominated: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Canada, Domestic, Europe, International, Sales & ServiceThe Globus family of brands -- Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways -- shows travelers the sights of 65 countries on six continents. In addition, the company has further extended its reach around the world by uniting travelers with similar interests through niche tours, including food- and wine-themed vacations, music-oriented journeys, faith-based travel, family vacations and holiday excursions. In 2007, Globus took the Travel Weekly Readers' Choice award for Best in Asia-Pacific for the third consecutive year and Best in Europe for the third time in five years.
Gogo Worldwide VacationsNominated: Canada, Caribbean, Domestic, Europe, Hawaii, International, Luxury, Mexico, Sales & Service
Gogo has 50 offices in 25 states and distributes to 18,000 agencies in the U.S. Credited with inventing the packaged vacation, Gogo has been a top producer in the industry, selling packages to 200 destinations on four continents. Acquired in 2000 by Flight Centre, a global travel agency based in Brisbane, Australia, Gogo has access to the world's most extensive product distribution network. Gogo sells only to travel agents.
Insight VacationsNominated: EuropeInsight Vacations is a leader in premium escorted tours and cruises to Canada, Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and the U.S. The company has accumulated an international following by providing quality tour packages with high-end accommodations, choices in dining and small group sizes. Insight Vacations can combine motorcoach tours with a river cruise, ocean cruise or rail journey. Insight is owned by TravCorp USA, which is also the parent of Trafalgar Tours and Contiki Holidays.
Micato SafarisNominated: AfricaFamily-owned and -operated since its founding in Kenya in 1967 by Jane and Felix Pinto, Micato Safaris offers guided tours of the Serengeti, Victoria Falls, one of several legendary game reserves, the Kalahari and the Skeleton Coast. In addition, the 2009 brochure includes custom-designed safaris and add-ons such as ballooning over Kenya and trekking on Kilimanjaro. Micato travelers also are offered the opportunity to spend a day visiting children in a Nairobi slum through Micato's nonprofit AmericaShare project. Throughout, Micato offers guests deluxe accommodations. One of the company's trademarks is that every guest is greeted personally by the Pintos.
Pacific Delight ToursNominated: Asia-Pacific
Pacific Delight is one of the country's top tour operators to Asia and the Pacific, with China and Yangtze River cruises a specialty. The company has grouped five of its most popular tour packages into its 2009-10 Quick Guide. To kick off this new brochure, Pacific Delight is giving early-booking savings of up to $500 per couple for bookings made by the end of this year. The company also offers tours and safaris in Africa and programs to Australia, Bali, Cambodia, India, Japan, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam. Its special-interest tours include the China and Yangtze River Jewish Heritage Tour, which features among its cultural offerings Shabbat dinner with members of the Jewish community in Shanghai, known as the Port of Last Resort for European Jews.
Pleasant HolidaysNominated: Asia-Pacific, Hawaii, Mexico
Pleasant Holidays made news this year by partnering with Singapore Airlines to launch a new brand, Singapore Airlines Vacations, marking Pleasant Holidays' first partnership with an airline. Pleasant Holidays is operating and managing the Singapore Airlines Vacations brand for the North America market. Singapore Airlines Vacations features packages to destinations in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The new brand will focus on upscale travel, and packages will include four- and five-star hotels. The booking platform is the same used by Pleasant Holidays but will be run by Pleasant's Asia specialists. Pleasant Holidays is one of the top names in Hawaii tourism. In 1997, the company purchased Japan & Orient Tours to expand operations into Asia, Europe and the Pacific, and Tahiti packages were introduced. The company has itineraries in Costa Rica, Mexico and the continental U.S. Pleasant Holidays has partnerships with a worldwide group of cruise lines to offer clients Asia, Australia, Fiji and Tahiti cruises. In 2007, Pleasant Holidays was voted Best Hawaii tour operator by Travel Weekly readers, its fourth win in that category in five years.
Tauck World DiscoveryNominated: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Canada, Europe, International, Luxury, Sales & Service
Tauck World Discovery has been the global leader in premium escorted land, cruise, riverboat and family journeys for more than 80 years and now offers more than 100 itineraries worldwide. Its tours encompass nearly all means of transportation, including motorcoach, rail, helicopter, steamship, small ship, river ship, yacht, expeditionary ship and ocean liner. In 2009, Tauck will launch a third Tauck-branded riverboat, the Swiss Jewel. As with the Jewel's sister ships, the Swiss Sapphire, launched last year, and the Swiss Emerald, launched in 2006, Tauck will limit capacity to 118 guests compared with 150 or more on other ships of similar size. Tauck is boosting its capacity for 2009 by increasing its river departures by 25%. The Swiss Jewel will alternate with Tauck's other vessels on five of the company's seven river-cruise itineraries next year. In another expansion, Tauck is adding three new itineraries to its collection of family-specific Tauck Bridges trips for 2009, including the first-ever river cruise designed especially for families. The new trips bring the total number of Tauck Bridges itineraries to 16, with family travel adventures offered in Europe, North America, Latin America and Africa.
Trafalgar ToursNominated: Europe, International
Trafalgar Tours specializes in escorted vacations to Asia, Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, North and South America, South Africa and the South Pacific. Trafalgar offers 240 itineraries lasting from four to 31 days. The company's CostSaver program features a range of itineraries in Europe and Britain for travelers on a budget, and its Breakaway tours cater to ages 21 to 38. Trafalgar's European river cruises inventory has multiple itineraries from which to choose. In 2007, Trafalgar Tours won Travel Weekly's Readers' Choice Award for Best International Tour Operator.
Travel ImpressionsNominated: Canada, Caribbean, Domestic, Europe, Hawaii, International, Luxury, Mexico, Sales & ServiceTravel Impressions, a subsidiary of American Express, has taken 6 million travelers on vacations to Argentina, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Brazil, the Caribbean, Canada, Costa Rica, Egypt, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, Panama, Tahiti and the continental U.S. Its newest destinations are Croatia, Dubai and South Africa. Travel Impressions provides vacation packages to 150 destinations and more than 1,800 resorts and hotels worldwide, departing from cities nationwide. In 2007, Travel Weekly readers named Travel Impressions the Best Domestic Tour Operator for the second year and Best in Sales & Service for the third consecutive year.