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Our Favorite Time of Year

Smart leaders have their eyes on the future.

The September issue of The Group Travel Leader is always my favorite of the year because it includes our annual Buyer’s Guide for the Group Travel Industry. In this special section, our writers and I interview leaders, innovators and experts throughout the tourism industry for articles on the most interesting and important issues facing travel planners today.

For this year’s Buyer’s Guide, which starts on page 49, we’ve selected a variety of topics to help you think about the future of your organization. No matter what sort of company you lead or what role you play in the tourism industry, you’ll likely find something here that helps you strategize about where you should be going next.

If you lead a small group or are at the beginning of a new venture in tourism, you need a website to help your organization thrive and grow. Eliza Myers outlines the case for a website, as well as gives lots of practical tips for building one, in “If You Build It.”

Eliza also tackles the topic of how to grow small tour companies in “Where To?” If you want your tourism business to grow, the stories of the six small and midsize tour companies in this article will give you lots of inspiration and ideas about how to accomplish that.

One recurring theme in our interviews with tourism veterans is the increasing demand for free time on tours. If you want a younger generation of travelers to join and enjoy your trips, you need to figure out how to package free time effectively. Rachel Carter explores free-time ideas from innovative destinations across the country in “Not All Who Wander…”

Part of preparing well for the future is protecting yourself and your travelers against emergencies and events that can threaten your trips. In “To Buy or Not To Buy?” Rachel peels back the layers of travel insurance, which can be complex and confusing, to help you identify the kinds of coverages you and your travelers need most.

Finally, keeping an eye on the future requires all of us to think about the long-term impact our trips will have on the places we visit and the people who live there. In my article “Should Travel Matter?” you’ll learn about six visionary organizations and how they’re using the power of travel to make the world a better place.

Whether you own a busy tour company or simply volunteer to plan trips for a community organization you love, your role in leading group travel comes with a lot of responsibility. In the midst of everything you need to do to make your upcoming trips successful, I want to encourage you to stop every now and then to think about the future.

I hope you’ll find the Buyer’s Guide and the rest of the articles in this month’s issue helpful. And as always, we’d love to hear your stories, too, so that we can all work together toward a thriving future for the industry we love.

Check out this year’s Buyer’s Guide here.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.