Dear Tauck Family of Friends,
Last weekend I was flying into Jackson Hole. I try to sit in seats D-E-F so I can take in the majesty of the Tetons out the right side of the plane as we make the final approach. This time I found myself thinking about the past year. So much change and impact to nearly every person on our planet. Yet as I gazed out at the Tetons, I also realized just how much “permanence” there is in our world too. These mountains are as they have been for millions of years. I saw birds soaring across the valley and a small herd of elk making their way north into the Park – something they have both been doing for so long. I thought too of the human emotions that are permanent – the desire to be with friends and family, the need to smile and laugh, to be together and share experiences. As we continue to restart our operations across the globe, we see a longing to embrace these needs and emotions as they resume their rightful priority. There is something comforting in what is timeless.
The pace of change most recently has been heartening to see. Vaccination rates in the US and Europe continue to climb and cases are dropping. We are hearing great feedback on the tours running in the USA (they will all be operating by July), and I’m thrilled to announce our official restart of Europe! This momentous pivot point follows in the wake of the recent decision by the European Union that vaccinated Americans will be able to visit this summer. Up to now, we have only been able to announce that two small ship cruises, Iceland and Treasures of the Aegean, will run this month and in July. Beginning in August, we will start resuming many European land journeys and river cruises as border openings permit.
I’m really excited about our new Douro River cruises with our newest riverboat, the 84-passenger Andorinha. She was built especially for the climate of Portugal and this river, incorporating some amazing innovations such as a “pop-up” restaurant that rises on hydraulic lifts to the top deck. In France, we’ll be operating five river cruises on the Rhône and Seine. Notable land tours that will also resume in August are Northern Spain, The Rioja Valley and Madrid and Normandy, Brittany, Paris & the Loire Valley.
My spirits are soaring as we turn the lights back on across the globe! We also made the decision to resume operating safaris in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and across Southern Africa in August. We are hopeful that Egypt, Israel and Morocco will follow in the fall. Things are evolving quickly and we are optimistic that we will be running many more land tours in countries such as Italy and Ireland, as well as opening more river cruises come September.
Our supplier partners and friends throughout Europe and Africa are elated. They can’t wait to resume doing what they love; sharing the places they call home and delivering unforgettable experiences for our guests. This will be a very special time to travel.
In a recent survey of our booked guests, 97% said they are vaccinated. This tells us how eager you are to get back out into the world. This pent up demand has resulted in a surge in bookings. Over 90% of our 2021 USA departures are completely sold out and 2022 has the strongest advance bookings of any year in our 96-year history. Prime dates and departures are selling fast and I encourage you to make plans soon while space is available. The latest information on our 2021 journeys that are open can always be found online at tauck.com/open.
We venture out with great optimism and excitement, but also with the knowledge that the resumption of travel will not be even and there will be twists and turns along the way. We are as prepared as possible but know that the best attitude is to expect the unexpected and to stay flexible. We hope that you share this spirit of adventure with us as we explore the world together again!
We have stayed in close touch with so many of you over the last year. Those letters, emails and phone conversations have informed our decisions and driven our desire to get back out into the world with you, when you are ready. I hope that you will soon enjoy those timeless moments as you once again connect with friends, family and the places we love.
Warm wishes for wonderful travels,
Daniel W. Mahar, CEO