We are lovers and fighters. I know what you are thinking; Wait a minute? we are lovers, not fighters! And I agree, most group travel organizers are lover’s – lovers of travel, lovers of people, places and things. But fighters? You bet we’re fighters! Being a great lover means that you are a passionate person and if what you love is threatened, you will take action to ensure that your love” stays alive and well. But how can we, as mere group travel organizers, fight the terrorists? We can fight them on a daily basis by doing what we do best, which is taking groups of people around the world!

In November of 2001 I wrote an article titled “Stop traveling? I do not think so! in reference to the September 11, 2001 terrorists acts in New York, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania, which to date, is terrorism at its worst. The subtitle was “If you have travel plans, keep to your schedule if possible. Here’s the reason why…”. Most of what I wrote about then is still applicable today. I thought it might be worth getting this message out again. Here are some excerpts from that article:

Keep to business as usual

The bottom line is that if we give in to the cowardly acts of these terrorists and stay home, they will have accomplished their goals, which is to make all freedom loving people paranoid about their security and eventually, even afraid of or own shadows. They cause us to be wary of foreigners visiting America, and even worse, we start scrutinizing our own American citizens who are foreign “”looking.”” How terrible is that! We cannot let this happen. To stop living a normal life, to start categorizing whole nationalities as “”good people”” or “”bad people,”” to stop traveling for business or pleasure…would be a shame. The terrorists become the winners.

As a group travel organizer, you can help defeat the immediate terrorist goals of disruption, paranoia and intimidation by keeping your group travel schedule in tact (if at all possible). By maintaining your travel schedules, you will demonstrate your contempt for the terrorists and, at the same time show that you will not be intimidated. Additionally we, as group travel organizers, should continually encourage others to travel the world. The more Americans travel globally, the more they will learn and understand other civilizations, cultures and religions. The more we all understand each other, the better off we will all be. If there was ever a time to show strength and determination to continue business as usual, it is now!

Here are 6 reasons why groups should keep traveling

“Let’s cancel our trip and stay home until this blows over,” is usually the first reaction that many people have after a terrorist incident. This is, of course, an understandable reaction…at first glance. However, after an act of terrorism, travel specials are greatly increased and these offers are something that should be taken into consideration. Why? First, as I have already stated, we must show the attackers that we cannot be brought to our knees by their acts of terrorism. Secondly, the travel industry realizes that the best way to counteract these terrible catastrophes is to keep their business alive and well. Consequently, airlines, cruise lines, hotels and resorts, and tour operators (domestic and international), etc., will start offering “”incentives”” to keep business generated. Lower airfares, discount room rates and group package specials will be available to anyone who wants to keep their business solvent and moving forward. So the opportunity to keep your groups in tact and on schedule is definitely something you should consider. You can travel now, and you can travel safely. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Security is at its highest– Immediately after an act of terrorism involving an incident in a major city, at an airport or on an airplane, security is at its highest. Tighter security measures are immediately instigated for not only the airlines, but also the cruise lines, hotels and resorts, transportation companies, etc. These measures involve both high profile and behind-the-scenes action. As a result, it is safer to travel today than it has been in years.

2. Lower prices for tour and travel-suppliers slash rates when they need to move space.

3. Discount travel “incentives” and special deals – especially for group travel!

4. International travel-While travelers in the USA from this point on will definitely experience some changes in security measures at airports, the procedures at a majority of international airports will not be to much out of the ordinary (with some exceptions). As many of you international travelers already know, the security at most of these airports has had much higher standards in place for years. Because of the September attack on America, I’m sure the foreign security measures will be strengthened even more, but it will not be nearly as noticeable as in the USA.

5. Take advantage of a group check-in– As a group travel organizer, you can arrange (usually) for a group check-in at the airport. This will help expedite your groups’ check-in to some extent. However, they will still be subject to the security procedures that have been instigated since the September 11, 2001 tragedy and now, the additional security procedures that have just been instigated because of the August 2006 London Heathrow incident.

6. Keep to business as usual-Addressed above, BUT to be reiterated. Please make every effort to get back to business as usual as fast as you possibly can. It will be good for you and good for America. NOW is the time to be determined and aggressive.

America at its best

To conclude, NOBODY should be deterred from leaving their homes for any reason, whether it’s a walk around the block in the neighborhood or a trip around the world…solely because of a terrorist incident. Not just Americans, but ANYBODY. To do so would be to acknowledge the efforts of these fanatic Neanderthal’s and fall into their “”game plan,”” which is to demoralize and destabilize not only this great nation, but all democratic, freedom loving, civilized nations. We cannot let this happen. So, pack your bags and start TRAVELING!

Foremost, as a group travel organizer, you need to take action and do this. (Excuse me…has anyone seen my soapbox?) As Americans, we have a habit of saying, during times of trials and tribulations, “”God bless America.”” What we should really be saying is “God bless everyone,” because we are all one in God’s eyes. So, “God bless everyone.” But especially (I can’t help myself), “God bless America…the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

by Carl Meadows