Passports is one of the oldest and most-experienced educational travel companies in the United States. Its founder, Dr. Gilbert Scott Markle, is generally regarded as having created the out-bound American student travel industry in the mid-1960s with the seminal company American Leadership Study Groups. Markle, a former Fulbright scholar and Yale PhD, was teaching philosophy at the time at Clark University, in Massachusetts. ALSG grew rapidly, and was soon sponsoring the overseas travel of thousands of high school and college students, and their teachers.
Passports sends small, medium-sized and large groups of travelers all over the world. Although the most popular tours focus on culturally-important European destinations such as London, Paris, Rome and Madrid, travel to places like Russia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific rim countries like Viet Nam is possible as well.
The company specializes in “being special,” with over half of its travel itineraries planned one at a time, by experts, reflecting the special interests of its clients. Performance tours for orchestras, bands, and choir groups are among the most common of these custom travel options.
Passports is one of a very few wholly American owned nationwide student travel companies, and has a large stake in the satisfaction of its travel clients. They want you and your choir to have the experience of a lifetime and return for more! Choral directors can be guaranteed the utmost performance from Passports when it comes to skilled travel knowledge and planning. They know what they’re doing!
Your choir can visit the greatest performance venues available to public tours all over Europe, the Orient — anywhere! In the case of a choir tour, the director or organizer can request a specific performance venue on the tour and Passports will contact the venue and try to add it to the tour schedule. If the choir director already has a contact, then s/he can contact the venue personally and then schedule it with Passports. Finally (and importantly!) Passports will also see to it that these performances are advertised locally. There’s nothing worse than traveling thousands of miles and then playing to an empty hall!
Passports makes it “worth the while” of a tour organizer! With the first six paid travelers, the organizer takes the tour for free. For every additional six paying travelers, the organizer receives either another free spot on the tour (for a spouse, friend, chaperone, etc.) or a cash payment. This means that if you book 36 paying travelers, you’d get your own trip for free plus free trips for five (5) more participants — or the cash equivalent of these five trips. The cash can be distributed as spending money, rolled into a fund for the choir’s operating expenses, given as a bonus to deserving staff, or for whatever use the choir organization sees fit.
Full details are available on the company’s multi-media web site: www.passports.com (You can even design your special tour itinerary on-line!) Don’t miss the other “perks” and incentives. Signing up early makes a big difference. You can get yourself not just one but two (2) free trips, for example. Last year’s International Teachers Convention was held in Paris; next year’s will occur in Madrid. “Early-bird” group organizers get to participate in these extra trips, for free. They are also eligible for extra cash bonuses if they get their groups on board early. ($500 for the first ten travelers signed up is typical!)
Take a look at www.passports.com or call the company at their Toll Free number 800.332.7277. You’ll get to speak with a travel expert. M.L.