Far Horizons

In the travel industry, G.O. is the abbreviation for the term “group organizer.” Most ITN readers probably know at least one person who has functioned as a G.O.

Who are G.O.s?

The definition of a group organizer, broadly stated, is someone who organizes a group of people to travel together with a common group itinerary. A group is usually defined by the travel industry as 10 or more passengers traveling together. A G.O. can be anyone with a following or who...

Randy Keck and the “five peaks of Mount Maru” — outside Angkor Wat. Photo: Lin

(Part 4 of 4 on Vietnam & Cambodia)

After my 1½ weeks in Vietnam, an evening arrival in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from Saigon provided me with the opportunity for an overnight respite before touring the remarkable remnants of the ancient Khmer civilization in and around the vicinity of Angkor Wat. I had arrived at one of the surviving great wonders of our world.

My accommodation for the next three nights was the luxurious, 238-room Sofitel Royal Angkor Golf & Spa...


(part 3 of 4 on Vietnam and Cambodia)

My sojourn in southern Vietnam began on arrival in Saigon on an afternoon flight from Da Nang. During my time in Saigon I never once heard it referred to as Ho Chi Minh City by a local.

Greeted by my new guide, Hoa, who speaks four languages fluently, I transferred to and quickly settled into the Renaissance Riverside Hotel, a 5-star highrise overlooking and providing expansive 180-degree views of the Saigon River.

During my two-plus...


(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...