I get great satisfaction from bringing Europe to you with my TV and radio shows and through my guidebooks. But nothing makes me prouder than our Rick Steves tour program, that in 2022, is providing nearly 28,000 travelers with the chance to experience Europe and its people after two years of being stuck at home. And what's even more satisfying is knowing we get to do it again in 2023!
We've just opened our 2023 tours and whether you're dreaming of vineyards in France, sheepdogs in Scotland, art in Italy, alps in Switzerland, history in Greece — or connecting with friendly people all across Europe — we have an itinerary that can turn that wish into smooth and affordable reality. (I plan to take a tour myself next year.)
Coming out of the pandemic in 2022 has been a challenge for airlines and tour companies. While we've experienced a few Covid-related bumps, I'm so proud of my team and our tour groups as we've traveled remarkably well through the first half of the year. Since our first tour ventured out in February, we've successfully run 460 tours with more than 10,000 tour members and only about two to three percent of those travelers have tested positive for Covid. Thankfully all the cases have been mild or asymptomatic. What will 2023 bring as we continue our transition out of the pandemic? It's anyone's guess. But we have a battle-tested process now for traveling smartly and safely in Europe (as you can see from our candid weekly "On the Road" reports from this year's tours) and I have good reason to believe that things will get even better for European travel as time passes.
If you're itching to experience the wonders of Europe in 2023, in this issue of Tour News you'll find the full details on all 46 of our carefully crafted European adventures. Each tour provides plenty of travel thrills per mile, minute, and dollar from "must-see" iconic sights to "back door" cultural experiences covering nearly all of Europe. I'm also happy to announce that our newest tours in Tuscany, southern Spain, and Poland were hits in 2022 and are back for a second year, so even more of you can experience these amazing places with a talented Rick Steves guide by your side.
And there's more to help stoke your 2023 travel dreams: You can browse through a fun slideshow of our top-selling itineraries from Scotland to Sicily, watch our tour experience video and tag along on an actual Rick Steves tour, meet some of our great guides, and discover why every year nearly half of our tour members are return customers.
With so many adventures to choose from, there are endless opportunities for you to take the trip of a lifetime. I've been in Europe for much of this spring and even though the pandemic lingers on — in so many ways — Europe's never been better.
I hope you can join us in 2023!