Select Traveler

MAR-APR 2017

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Page 48 of 51 49 M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 7 3) MIX THE SECULAR AND THE SACRED. A common misperception of faith-based trips is that they must focus entirely on religious attractions and activities. But that's just not true. Like everyone else, people of faith want to see all the major attractions in the places they visit. ey also enjoy free time to shop, ex- plore the area's restaurants and generally enjoy their vacation. "e Ark Encounter is the cen- terpiece of most of the tours that I book, but when they get here, they want to experience other parts of northern Kentucky," said Lutz. "ey want to take a riverboat cruise, go to the aquarium and stay in area ho- tels. So, we help them package in other attractions and res- taurants in the area." Including a mix of religious and nonreligious activities can help your tour appeal to a broader market as well so travelers don't feel like they must be religious to join the trip. Top: Faith-based group in front of historic church, courtesy Select International Tours Bottom: Church service during a tour, courtesy Select International Tours 4) FIND TRAVEL PROVIDERS WHO FIT YOUR OBJECTIVES. When planning a trip to the Holy Land or another trip that is heavily focused on faith heritage, recognize that a tour company with faith-based credentials may provide a more immersive re- ligious experience than a general tour operator who packages standard itineraries in the area. If you want a broader mix of his- tory, culture and sightseeing, though, a less specialized tour operator may do the trick. "ere are so many companies now selling faith-based travel, so it's all about doing your research," Krunic said. "e prod- ucts may seem similar, but they're not the same. Are you looking for a guaranteed departure that goes to some religious destinations, or looking for a customized trip just for your group that focuses on the faith-based aspects of a place? Are you working with a company that started selling faith-based travel five years ago, or a veteran that has been sell- ing it for 20 to 30 years?" 5) PARTNER WITH LOCAL FAITH LEADERS. If you want to go all out on a faith-based trip, consider enlisting the participation of a well- respected pastor, priest or other faith leader from your community. In addition to helping to draw the attention of potential travelers to your trip, a faith leader can help set the direction for the itinerary and activities during the trip, as well as be the spiritual guide during the journey. "e most important aspect of these trips is often partner- ing with a spiritual director," Krunic said. "Trying to get a trip off the ground without a religious leader who is interested in partnering with you is likely to fail. But if you form a partner- ship with a spiritual director who is on board and completely engaged in the entire process of planning the trip, success is guaranteed." "IF YOU FORM A PARTNERSHIP WITH A SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR WHO IS ON BOARD AND COMPLETELY ENGAGED IN THE ENTIRE PROCESS OF PLANNING THE TRIP, SUCCESS IS GUARANTEED." — EDITA KRUNIC, SELECT INTERNATIONAL TOURS

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