For 20 years, I've taken great joy in introducing our tour guides as "my friend and fellow guide" whenever they appear on my TV show.
As we step into 2020 and a new decade, I'm thankful for each of our guides. Their passion for teaching, their love of sharing Europe's wonders, and the artful way they turn our tour groups into a family on the road are the keys to our success. There was a time I couldn't imagine a Rick Steves tour not being guided by Rick Steves. Today, I'd honestly prefer any of our amazing guides.
Our 2020 Tour Guide Summit is about to take my little hometown of Edmonds, WA, by storm as we fly our guides — over a hundred from across the US and Europe — in for an intensive week of workshops and strategy sessions. Our goal: to make our tours better than ever. The days are filled with sharing and learning, and the evenings are full of fun. My highlight: the evening the entire gang packs into my house — filling it to the rafters with gusto, energy, and a love of life.
And it would be wrong not to share with the public what must be the most exciting gathering of European guides anywhere on Earth. So we cap off the week with our biggest event of the year: Test Drive a Tour Guide™. On Saturday, January 25, guides from all over Europe will take to the stage to talk about Europe's top destinations for 2020. We'll be streaming several presentations live on ricksteves.com — Italy, Ireland, England, France, Germany, Spain, and more — for those who can't attend in person. I hope you'll tune in and join the fun.
This month's Tour News is all about celebrating the Rick Steves tour experience: You'll travel to Turkey with tour guide Lale Surman Aran; experience the travels thrills of our flagship Best of Europe in 21 Days tour (which I'll be taking this summer with my extended family); read an interview with Test Drive speaker and Best of Andalucía tour guide Robert Wright; and join a forum discussion about juggling multiple currencies when traveling through Europe. You'll also meet one of our Climate Smart Commitment grant recipients.
I'm thankful for the high caliber of our guides. With their talent and hard work, we're providing exciting European adventures for more travelers than ever…while still preserving the ideals that for 40 years have distinguished a Rick Steves tour. And I'm also thankful for those who trust us with their European vacations. It's a big responsibility to meet your high expectations…and we aim to exceed them in 2020.