Dear Tauck Family of Friends,
An Easter reflection for me this past week, was the memory of the sparkle of light that was Andrea Bocelli singing Amazing Grace on the steps of the Duomo in Milan on Easter Sunday, just one year ago. It stirred us all so deeply then, and the memories resonate strongly today. That moment still stands as a metaphor for so much. In a time of relative darkness, beauty is present. The human spirit is strong and enduring. Our “Porchlight” has been a metaphor for a beacon which welcomes people “home.” It’s been our theme for our communications to you over this past year. We will be ready when you are.
That day has arrived.
I’m thrilled to let you know that by July we plan to be running all of our USA tours. Our Worldwide Operations team has been working meticulously with our partners to plan for each individual itinerary, as they always do so thoroughly. We have recently completed a survey of our patrons holding reservations and were heartened to learn that 95% have already been vaccinated and 2% have their appointments scheduled.
It feels appropriate that we are opening up where our roots are, where we pioneered guided travel 96 years ago. We started in New England in 1925 and expanded first to the south, then west to the great National Parks, and eventually to all corners of North America and Hawaii.
The restart of travel has been more akin to the turning of a dimmer than the flipping of a switch. We started in January with our Wonderland: Yellowstone in Winter tour and the feedback was excellent. Several of our guests loved the trip so much, they booked the same experience again for next year! Our preparations had paid off. Next to resume operations was our Charleston and Savannah tour, followed by our immersive experience in New Orleans’ Cajun country. In May, two longtime East Coast favorites will be running: Kentucky/Tennessee and Williamsburg/Washington.
If you’re ready to hit the road this summer, we’ll be running both Classic and Bridges tours like Cape Cod, The Islands and Newport, Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, Alaska: Call of the Wild and The Best of Hawaii.
It is still unclear how quickly the rest of the world will open up. Already, several countries have announced that borders will be open to US citizens who have been vaccinated and we are working with our partners to plan the restart. We know countries will not all open at once, and we meet on a daily basis to monitor changing entry restrictions and guidelines. We hope that many tours and cruises outside the USA will start operating sometime this summer, and we will be sharing more news over the coming weeks as we continue our re-opening efforts.
You’ll find the most up-to-date listing of our 2021 trips on our new Open for Travel page. And to learn how we have prepared for your travel, to check the status of your booked tour or cruise, entry requirements, health protocols, to find local COVID testing sites, and more, visit Travel and Health updates. These pages are updated frequently.
We have always felt that expecting the unexpected is the best mindset for travel and that attitude will be important as destinations open up. We are heading into the coming months with great optimism but also with a realistic understanding that the recovery will be uneven and there may be setbacks that could disrupt the scheduled startup of some trips; local guidelines and the impact of the long pause on some of our partners may also impact elements of itineraries. Please know that when we do make a change, every effort is made to maintain our standards of quality and service.
As the lights turn on, the resumption of travel will unite our world in unique and unprecedented ways. Everyone has been through so much and will be eager to connect. The warmth and feelings of genuine care will be so tangible – from servers in restaurants, bellmen and concierges at hotels, guides and docents at museums and points of interest, and more; but also from the locals and fellow travelers we meet along the way. We all will feel and experience something special.
As I think back over the past year, one “light” stands out and that is how we stayed connected. More than one million “connections” were made electronically. Because we could not go out into the world, we did our best to bring the world into your homes by way of our insideTauck live presentations and virtual tours, and through our Compass newsletter. We also heard from so many of you. It was humbling, and your letters and emails were a great a source of inspiration and motivation for all of us.
Thank you again for your trust, support and encouragement over the past year. We understand your dreams have been deferred, not cancelled. And we look forward to greeting you back out on the “road.”
Warmest wishes to you and yours,
Daniel W. Mahar, CEO