TUCSON, Arizona — Tuscon welcomed nearly 200 destination representatives from across the United States and Canada, as well as owners and executives from 28 tour companies that compose the membership of Travel Alliance Partners (TAP) for Tap Dance Tucson, the organization’s annual meeting, June 11-14. The CEOs of both the American Bus Association and NTA were also present for a good part of the gathering.
TAP Dance features an innovative pod-based appointment program where representatives of four to six key destinations in various regions meet in unison with each TAP tour company. This regional emphasis allows tour operators to envision entire areas of the country as opposed to cities or states individually.
“We have four new owner/operators with us here this week, all of whom bring an exciting new capability to our organization,” said Stefanie Gorder, executive director of Travel Alliance Partners. “Burlington Trailways of Ohio has become our fourth motorcoach company to come onboard. They have a tour planning division that is using TAP Dance as a way of building new product for their company.
“Citizen Auto Stage Company/Grayline of Tucson has joined and brings a century of family-owned expertise with them,” said Gorder. “They are a longtime leader in this industry in the Southwest and Mexico and a great fit geographically.
“A cool new company, Southwest Adventure Tours of Cedar City, Utah, has joined and they are running trips for smaller groups using Sprinter vans,” she said. “Their owner, Jason Murray, has already signed up to do a SpecTAPular tour for us next year that features houseboating on Lake Powell.
“Our fourth new member is actually a former member from several years ago,” said Gorder. “Main Street Tours Inc from Lakewood, California, has rejoined, and Laurie Lincoln is a very respected member of this industry. We welcome her renewed involvement.”
“Most of these joined us last year for our Bet on TAP program, where we invite potential new partners to TAP Dance for a day to see what we’re all about,” said Gorder. “We’re bringing several more in again this week in hopes of adding to our growing base of operation.”
Two SpecTAPular tours were approved for 2018 in Tucson.
“We’re promoting a tour around ‘The Big E’ next September”, said Richard Durgan of Durgan Travel Service in Stoneham, Massachusetts. “The Big E is the iconic exposition on the Eastern Seaboard that is now a century old and features exhibits from all six New England States. Every state has a replica of its statehouse on the Avenue of States and serves signature foods.
“We’ll visit several area museums like the new Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge,” said Durgan. “And we’ll go see the largest collection of Indian motorcycles in the world at the Museum of Springfield History.”
The other SpecTAPular event takes place across the country on Arizona’s and Utah’s Lake Powell.
“We could have 10 to 15 houseboats on this trip if it sells well,” said Jason Murray of Southwest Adventure Tours. “It’s October 13- 21. We’ll have 12 or so clients on each boat. Lake Powell is geologically fascinating, and at night there is almost no ambient light, so the evening skies are fantastic.
“We’ll break the boats up into groups of people who are looking for relaxation versus groups that want more active options like hiking or tubing,” Murray said. “Breakfasts and lunches are fairly casual and dinners are where we really put on a show. This will be something most of these people have never done before.”
TAP Dance 2018 will be held June 4-8 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.”
For more information go to www.tapintotravel.com.