For the last 20 years or so you have likely come to expect a year end wrap up from me. Just a chance to share a bit of the past 365 days and a quick look forward. Not one to disappoint, the following is just that: A look back and a look forward.
2021 was definitely a year for the record books. Thanks primarily to our extensive domestic portfolio of National Parks adventures, we were able to host more intrepid travelers than ever before. And this came at a time when we really needed it!
Like everyone else in the travel business, 2020 was a year we might want to forget. That said, we have no intention of forgetting all the lessons that helped us not just survive but actually thrive in delivering the quality and peace of mind that our travelers demand. In addition to safety/sanitation protocols that are now part of our standard operating procedures, we are proud of our more flexible client-first policies that have evolved to accommodate these ever-changing times.
The number one takeaway was seeing clearly how important our domestic product is to us and our travelers. As you all know, we have been a leader in the National Parks of the West for over 35 years. After a sold out 2021 summer season, we have been working tirelessly to create even more opportunities close to home. We have created a new East Coast Series traveling to: Maine, Vermont, North Carolinaand Georgia. In addition, we have a new program exploring Death Valley & Joshua Tree National Parks.We have also doubled down and created more departures in our tried and true programs like our #1 selling Yellowstone Adventure and of course we have geared up to return to the Canadian Rockies after a two year absence.
Have you heard the other good news? Make that great news!? Last July Austin Adventures finished the year-long process of merging with international industry leader, Active Adventures, based in New Zealand. We have been working with Active for years selling each other’s programs so we knew of their reputation and integrity. As we got to know CEO Wendy van Lieshout and her amazing team, we just saw a perfect fit. We have the North American programs they were missing and Active’s international portfolio enhances and compliments everything we do quite well. Add to that having completely opposite seasons, the ability to extend office hours and just all around more bandwidth, and you have a match made in heaven.
To help launch this partnership, I’ve enlisted my wife and soul-mate Carol to join me in hosting our annual Founders Trip on one of Active’s newest trips in Spain! On May 7, 2022,we will be hitting Camino Santiago Trail with a dozen or so fellow adventurers for an epic journey! We can’t wait.
As 2021 winds down, we are excited to roll into our annual Past TravelersAppreciation Month (December). This year it’s even more exciting as we have worked to combine the Austin Adventures Past Traveler perks with the Active Adventures perks! Now, anyone who has or will travel with either brand will get to enjoy reciprocal past travelers’ incentives and opportunities! So, special rewards for being a loyal traveler,from trip discounts to free travel, now carry across both brands.
Unfortunately, we have all come to accept that we all will be impacted indefinitely by this COVID Pandemic. Guided by our conscious and facts,we have deliberated as a team and have come to the tough decision to implement a mandatory vaccine policy for the 2022 season. Regardless of where our guests choose to travel, the mandatory vaccine requirement will be in place. It is the right thing to do not just for our travelers and guides, but also to protect the people and places we visit. I can say, so far the response has been overwhelmingly supportive.
As we move into the end of the year, I want to wish each and every one of you a heartfelt and warm holiday season! It’s a wonderful time to gather with friends and family and start planning your next great adventure!
Until next time my friends, Namaste, Namaste
Dan Austin, Founder