Hi from Rick: My Top 10 Tours are...
"Italy is clearly our top overall destination for 2013. As it probably will be for the rest of our lives."
No matter what the subject is, I've always enjoyed greatest-hits, top-seller lists. This applies to tours, too. And with 40 itineraries in our tour program, it's fun to see what's hot and what's not.
Normally, only my staff gets to see our sales rankings, but in this month's Tour News we thought it would be fun to share this "insider" information with you, too. We've also put together a "10 tours in 10 days" slideshow, tour-related clips from my TV shows, and a sampling of tour members' "wow" moments. If you're having trouble deciding where to travel next, it's good to start at the top.
So roll the drum. Here are my Top 10 Tours...so far...for 2013: (1) Best of Eastern Europe; (2) Heart of France; (3) Best of Sicily; (4) Best of Paris; (5) Venice, Florence & Rome; (6) Best of Italy; (7) Best of Ireland; (8) Best of Europe in 14 Days; (9) Best of Europe in 21 Days; and (10) Heart of Italy.
I'm impressed that Eastern Europe is so popular, yet it shouldn't surprise me, as there's something so romantic and exotic about destinations like Prague, Budapest, and Kraków. Moving down the list, France and Paris are perennial favorites, and looking even stronger for 2013. Sicily is my biggest surprise. Anyone who's been to Sicily knows how great it is, but it's typically been a slow-seller. Perhaps all those travelers with a passion for Italy are ready to take it one step further. Ireland is simply a joy — we call it "Italy with rain." The reliable popularity of our multi-country Best of Europe in 14 and 21 Days tours reaffirms that travelers appreciate a well-organized "Europe's greatest hits" approach, with the luxury of a smooth bus ride and an expert guide. Then, taking three out of the top 10 spots (not counting Sicily) is Italy. My favorite country this side of India, Italy has always been #1. When I add up sales for our Best of Italy tour, Venice-Florence-Rome (the superstar cities in 10 days), and the Heart of Italy (the Best of Italy tailored for people who can afford nine days, but not 17) — Italy is clearly our top overall destination for 2013. As it probably will be for the rest of our lives.
The under-sellers so far for 2013 are the tours to headline-inflicted Greece and Turkey. Last year at this time, our Best of Turkey tour was #2 on the list; today it's stuck at around #13. It shouldn't be... I'm thrilled to be going to both countries in just a few months, where we'll be shooting two new episodes of our TV series based on the experience I had as a Best of Turkey tour member a couple of years ago. With the news coverage of unrest in the Middle East and economic hard times in Greece, people who watch lots of TV are going elsewhere for a while. Pssst... I think that's a big mistake.
Our 2013 tours are selling at an even brisker clip than 2012, our best year ever. Here's one reason: Half of our sign-ups are from travelers who have taken a tour with us before. It's a great vote of confidence that our tour alums make us an ongoing part of their travel dreams (which we'll celebrate together at our Tour Alum Reunion Parties here in Edmonds a few weeks from now).
Plus, you could help shake up next month's Top 10 Tours list.