Far Horizons

(2 of 4 on Vietnam & Cambodia)

The second stop in my March 2007 journey in Vietnam and Cambodia, the land portion of which was hosted by SITA World Tours, focused on Hue and Hoi An in central Vietnam, a region that many Vietnamese feel is the historic cultural heartland of the now-thriving country.

Many of Vietnam’s most appealing attractions are encompassed herein within about a 50-mile radius. These include an ancient seaport, the finest of imperial architecture and...


Attending the ITMI (International Tour Management Institute) annual symposium in January 2007 provided the opportunity to get updates on two emerging group-tour-industry trends. One of these is the dramatic increase in student travel programs, a subject I will address in a future column. Another is the growth of family travel, also now known as and titled in the industry as intergenerational or multigenerational travel. The number of major tour operators now providing group programs for this...


Nearly nine years ago, in the May 1998 issue, I wrote an article entitled “So You Think You Want to Be a Tour Director.” It is time for an update on the opportunities for employment as a tour director, which include working as a local or regional guide.

ITMI 2007 Symposium

In January 2007 I had the opportunity to again attend the annual symposium of the International Tour Management Institute, or ITMI (625 Market St., Ste. 810, San Francisco, CA 94105; 800/442-...


I had the opportunity to travel to Mendoza, the attractive city of 100,000-plus in the heart of northern Argentina’s booming viticulture region, in April ’06. While the city is a thriving regional commercial center, it is the huge wine industry — featuring literally scores of wineries (bodegas) in Mendoza and the surrounding districts — that primarily provides both its national identity and its popularity with foreign visitors. Mendoza has an annual 3-day wine...


(Fourth of four parts, jump to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4).

Just prior to the conclusion of my two weeks in Panama as a guest of tour operator Panama Jones, I had the opportunity to fly to the San Blas Islands and overnight at Dolphin Island Lodge.

These islands stretch along some 200 miles of Panama’s Caribbean coastline and are part of a large Kuna Yala reservation which extends from the seaward continental shelf to the top of the jungle-clad continental divide...


(Third of four parts, jump to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4).

The Highlands

The Chiriqui Highlands of southwestern Panama, with elevation ranging from 3,500 to 6,000 feet, are indeed a special haven of nature’s splendor.

A place of respite and generosity to humans, the natural world of the highlands is verdant and abundant in its offerings of rainforests, cloudforests, clear streams and rivers, wild flora and colorful bird life. With its ample rainfall and a...


(Second of four parts, jump to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4).

Many visitors to Panama, having settled into their hotel on arrival in Panama City, do not pack their bags again until they are ready to depart for home. On an exploration of Panama in May ’06 as a guest of the tour operator Panama Jones, I had the opportunity to experience a full range of day-touring opportunities available from Panama City.

In my 13-day visit I took in all of the day excursions contained in...


(First of four parts, jump to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4).

It was my great pleasure to be the beneficiary of experiencing the reality of Tranquilo Bay Resort in May of this year. Located centrally within the 68-island archipelago of Bocas del Toro off the Caribbean coast of northern Panama, this resort has, in terms of its development, an immediate past history that proves that truth can be harder to imagine than fiction.

For nearly two weeks, I experienced the varied...